Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Expansion Draft Analysis

It's tomorrow, as the drama doesn't stop in MLS just because the season's over. First of all, let's take a look at this interesting rule:

"If San Jose selects a Developmental Player it must offer him a Senior Roster position and he must be on San Jose's Senior Roster as of Roster Compliance Date."

If that was in effect last year, I wasn't aware of it. With only 18 senior roster spots and 10 picks, they're going to have to pick guys that can contribute right away. Click here for the entire list of rules.

Despite the way his season turned out, I felt that Mo Johnston did a masterful job in the draft last year. He called teams' bluffs and picked players with an eye on trading them, guys who were exposed for reasons besides talent. He took Nate Jaqua who was expected to go to Europe, and Jason Kreis who RSL thought would be safe to expose. Overall, if you look at the talent he recieved in trades for his 10 expansion picks (none of which are still on the roster BTW), he looks pretty smart. Check it out:

Expansion draft 2006 picks:

1 Paulo Nagamura
2 Danny O'Rourke
3 Jose Cancela
4 Adrian Serioux
5 Nate Jaqua
6 Rod Dyachenko
7 Jason Kreis
8 Tim Regan
9 Ritchie Kotschau
10 Will Hesmer

Through all the trades afterwards, Toronto received the following (also giving up a 2007 second rounder):

Three allocations (two partial)
Edson Buddle
Ronnie O'Brien
Two 2008 1st round picks
Temporary YI spot through 2009

Now due to injuries and the quality of the guys Johnston brought in, this doesn't look too impressive, but it really is. He had all the tools to be successful this year and next. Of course, his hands were tied due to the roster restrictions as well. And he probably would've been better keeping a few guys, but oh well.

San Jose is unlikely to get a bunch of international stars, so the allocations won't be needed. Frank Yallop will likely be looking for talent that he's familiar with and like mentioned above, can contribute immediately.

Team by team breakdown

MLS released the players available, but didn't mention who was protected and exempt. That might not be totally necessary for this preview, but I'm a details guy. I spent some time on Wikipedia last night creating this page for the draft, which you can look at to see every team's exact situation.

Use that page to understand my analysis below. Click here to see a pdf of the salaries.


Hernandez seems the most likely to be a first team player, and he's cheap ($45k). Perez and Zotinca would both be around $70k, although the salary cap rising means that the average senior roster player will now earn $120k or so. I don't know if Nunez would be a Yallop-type of player, but it's hard to pass up a 22 year old with talent and experience. It's easier to find quality defenders in this draft than players like Nunez. I obviously can't see him wanting Merlin after passing him up in the preseason.

Most likely picks: Hernandez, Nunez


Guerrero's exclusion on the unprotected list was unexpected, until you see his high salary. Busch is a cheap backup keeper, and SJ is likely to get at least one keeper in this draft. Jim Curtin is one of the more accomplished players available.

Most likely picks: Busch, Je.Curtin, Ji.Curtin, Thorrington


Casey makes a lot of money ($180k), but he's got a lot of talent and they'd be hard pressed to find a better forward on the free agent market. He could fill the Brian Ching role in the new Quakes, and I would take him in a heartbeat despite his struggles. They have to take a few chances if they want to be successful in year one. Couple of cheap defenders are also an option.

Most likely picks: Casey, Petke, Prideaux


Grabavoy is likely out of contract as he just completed his fourth season. Like Jaqua, you can't pass a guy like that up despite that. His rights are still worth something even if he leaves, and it's not like all 10 picks will end up making the roster. Herron is one of the better forwards available.

Most likely picks: Garey, Grabavoy, Herron


Now this is where the talent comes in. Brian Carroll seems like a no-brainer. He could start for a lot of teams in this league, certainly an expansion team. And how much does Yallop like Walker four years later? Vanney costs too much to take.

Most likely picks: B.Carroll, Dyachenko, Vanney, Walker


More talent here. Abe Thompson's a guy who's been on the verge of starting for a while now; he's shown he can score goals when given the chance. Goodson is another guy whose contract is up, while Oduro is an intriguing cheap option. Gbandi is a solid defender as well, while Yi is cheap.

Most likely picks: Gbandi, Goodson, Oduro, Pitchkolan, Thompson, Yi


Cochrane seems to be the obvious choice, although Waibel is another quality starter. Cochrane may also be another, like Wells, who could be out of contract (four year deals are handed out to rookies, so anyone who was drafted in 2004 might be one). Hard to see him leaving MLS though. Wells would be a good backup and there's also the sentimental choice of Onstad, but he probably wouldn't be around long enough to led them to a title game. So if you can't be successful right away, then he's not a good choice.

Most likely picks: Cochrane, Onstad, Waibel, Wells, Wondolowski


Not a lot here really. Hartman could start for the Earthquakes in 2008, if they want him. Burciaga is talented and is the obvious choice. Otherwise it's a bunch of young, untested guys who seem unlikely to make the senior roster.

Most likely picks: Burciaga, Hartman


Probably the most interesting pick will be this one. Who will Yallop take among his former men? Word is that Yallop was upset at some of the trades made, who knows which guys that means. Does that preclude him taking Kelly Gray? Cronin seems like an ideal backup keeper. Yallop started Tudela down the stretch and brought in Harmse. Despite Gordon playing a big role, he just doesn't seem good enough to be the choice. Martino on the other hand does have plenty of talent, or so people keep telling us. Did Yallop see enough in him? Hard decision for him here.

Most likely picks: Cronin, Gordon, Gray, Harmse, Martino, Tudela


Dorman is out of contract and so is John. Riley stands out as the guy here due to the combo of age and salary. Sims is a cheap guy who went to college in California, and just was capped by Guatemala. Could he play a major role next season?

Most likely picks: John, Riley, Sims


Quaranta seems unlikely since he was let go by the Galaxy earlier this year, while Wolyniec is an aging journeyman. Goldthwaite was drafted by the Quakes, but Vide seems to be the guy the Metros fans don't want to lose. Magee is another risky pick, because there's obviously talent there.

Most likely picks: Doe, Goldthwaite, Magee, Vide


Who to pick here? Brown could be a versatile reserve. Watson certainly will get a shot with somebody; he's already supposedly been cut by RSL. I think in a choice between those two, you'd have to go with the younger guy who could at least have a chance to be great. Probably one of the teams to lose no one.

Most likely picks: C.Brown, Forko, Watson


Wow, talk about barren. They were required to have the same restrictions on SIs as the other teams (can leave only one at most unprotected), and don't forget they have 7 of them. So as a result they have almost all of their crappy Canadian bench warmers available. Yallop may be familiar with some of them from his time as Canada coach, but that would be one of the only reasons to take somebody. Other than that you would say that they're the least likely team to have somebody picked. Those familiar available players would probably be the three defenders signed last year, although their salaries are pretty high given their performance. Boyens or Lombardo could be a cheaper option.

Most likely picks: Boyens, Braz, Pozniak, Reda


CHI Busch
CHV Nunez
CLB Grabavoy
COL Petke
DAL Thompson
DC B.Carroll
HOU Cochrane
KC Burciaga
LA Martino
NE Riley
NY (none)
RSL (none)
TOR (none)

Comments on "Expansion Draft Analysis"


Blogger Bonji said ... (8:13 AM, November 20, 2007) : 

Conor Casey just had knee surgery that will most likely keep him out 9 months. I doubt he'll be selected.


Blogger Jay Sarollia said ... (12:35 PM, November 21, 2007) : 

I know this isn't probably the best place to put this, but I couldn't find anywhere else. With the arrival of David Beckham, and his huge salary, and now Ruud Gullit as Galaxy boss, do you, seeing as you live the US and watch more MLS than I do, think any MLS club could lure Juan Román Riquelme away from Europe with a big money offer? I think it's possible.


Blogger scaryice said ... (5:47 AM, November 22, 2007) : 

I doubt it, just because the league really isn't in the position to be paying out big transfer fees. The only team that would do something crazy like that is New York. He's supposedly going to Boca anyway.


Blogger J said ... (9:05 PM, November 23, 2007) : 

Any comments on the players that ended up being chosen?


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