Another Loss: A Look at the Expansion Draft
The Crew will be losing someone this week. There is already trouble brewing over Schelotto’s contract situation and Rogers possibly being unhappy in Columbus, but the team is almost sure to lose someone to the Philadelphia Union expansion draft on Wednesday. The Crew brain trust will have to prepare a list that minimizes the impact to the team with a lot of question marks heading into the 2010 season.
While the Crew will be releasing their list tomorrow, but I will try to take a crack now:
- Guillermo Barros Schelotto – It’s a risk if he leaves for Argentina, but he is too valuable to protect.
- Chad Marshall – Cornerstone of the team
- Brian Carroll – The backbone of the the team. Injury contributed to an off year.
- Robbie Rogers – Rumors of his discontent doesn’t reduce his value to the Crew, even if it is for a trade.
- Jed Zayner – Youthful defender looked very good in defense.
- Gino Padula – Even older left backs are too valuable to lose.
- Danny O’Rourke – Versatile player who can play 4 defensive positions and in the midfield.
- Eric Brunner – Young defenders as solid as Brunner are very valuable.
- Eddie Gaven – He is a young steady performer. His high salary might scare off teams, but not a risk worth taking.
- Emmanual Ekpo – Much like Gaven, his high salary might scare off Philadelphia, but there is too much possible turnover on offense to lose both Ekpo and Gaven.
- William Hesmer – I think he is a little to valuable to risk losing.
Unprotected: Frankie Hejduk, Alejandro Moreno, Steven Lenhart, Emilio Renteria, Jason Garey, Andy Iro, Adam Moffat, Duncan Oughton, Andy Gruenebaum, Kenny Schoeni, Kevin Burns, Cory Elenio, Alex Grendi
I have ranked the protected list in the order I would protect. 1-8 are pretty solid, but I was on the fence for the final three. Gaven would be a big loss and he had a good year in 09, but I almost left him off my list because of his giant salary number ($173,250). He probably could be left off, but I didn’t want to take the risk. Ekpo wasn’t as steady. That’s worth protecting over the aging Moreno. Hesmer is just better enough than Gruenebaum protect as well.
As far as the unprotected list, I debated over three players, Moreno, Hejduk, and Lenhart. Hejduk is the heart of the Crew and one of the longest serving players, but he has also lost a step. He will be 36 next year and has injury problems. Moreno is out of contract, expensive, and will be 30 next year. Never a clinical striker; he is now losing any of the speed he once had. Lenhart is cheap and young, but is still very rough around the edges. He is a more replaceable talent.
Who do I expect Philly to take, just by talent and salary and not considering tradable value, I expect they take Moreno. His contract can be reworked and he is a proven MLS striker, even if it is as more of a 2nd striker. He is valuable at a reduced cap number. I could see them take cheaper talent like Lenhart, but Hejduk is expensive and aging, two bad combos.
Any way the Crew make their list, it marks the beginning of what looks to be a very tumultuous offseason.