Big Names Highlight Full List Of MLS Players Participating In Re-Entry Draft

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Big D Soccer: Could Picking Juan Pablo Angel Be In The Offing?

There's no question about it: The most intriguing name currently in the Re-Entry Draft pool is Juan Pablo Angel. Over four MLS seasons, he's scored 58 goals in 102 regular season matches. That's easily the best total over that stretch.

Even at 35, he's coming off a season in which he scored 13 goals and had four assists. He could probably start for almost any team in MLS right now.

So, it's no wonder why Daniel Robertson at Big D Soccer is among those encouraging FC Dallas to make Angel the franchise's second ever Designated Player.

Angel would be a perfect addition to a Dallas lineup that's only glaring hole is a pure finisher up front. Ruben Luna is still a year away from starting on this team and what a perfect player for the youngster to emulate.

As Robertson points out, the red flag with Angel is that salary. Here's the thing, though: Whether or not Angel is willing to take less money than he's owed, he's going probably going to count the same against the salary cap. On paper, FC Dallas has an awful lot to gain by signing a player like Angel. Coming off their most successful season in their history and needing to build on that momentum, a big-name, high-impact player like Angel could be the kind of thing to move the needle.

If Angel falls to the Toros with the 15th pick in the draft and they don't take him because they are hoping to take him in Stage 2 so that they can renegotiate that contract, I think it would be a huge mistake. The risk/reward here just makes no sense. Dallas' best hope for signing Angel is to take him in Stage 1 and swallow the costs.

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Salary Constraints Will Likely Limit Action During Re-Entry Draft

Trying to assess the salary-cap situations of a MLS team is a pretty dicey proposition. The only public information is made available by the Players' Union, and there are a variety of ways teams can lower the amount a player counts against the salary budget. Designated Players, for instance count no more than $350,000, but can theoretically be paid down to zero with allocation money. Making it even more difficult, there's no publicly accessible way to figure out exactly which players are under contract for next year and for how much.

Still, we can get a general idea of how much wiggle room various teams have heading into Wednesday's inaugural Re-Entry Draft. If we assume a roughly 5 percent raise for all players not exposed to the draft and a $2.67 million salary budget that must cover the 24 senior roster spots, we are left with what looks to be the makings of a very quiet afternoon.

Using those assumptions, just four teams appear to have as much as $1 million of cap space and just one of those teams has more than 17 senior roster spots filled. The San Jose Earthquakes - fresh of cutting ties with Designated Player Geovanni and losing relatively well paid veterans Arturo Alvarez and Joe Cannon in the Expansion Draft - appear to have about $1 million in available cap space and about 20 players already under contract. They appear to be one of the few teams capable of taking on one of the bigger names. Three teams - the Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders - appear to have no cap space.

While the Re-Entry Draft is a nice gesture, as it gives veterans a chance to test the market, the reality is few teams are going to be capable of really putting it to use.

DC United, for instance, would seem to be the kind of team that should benefit from this draft. They were one of the worst teams in MLS history last year, have the first pick and have about 22 players already under contract. But they also appear to have just about $500,000 in available cap space. Just 10 players in the draft made less than $100,000 last year and none of those players are likely to provide any immediate help.

The Houston Dynamo, another team in need of help, have the fifth overall pick and appear to have about $1.5 million in cap space (as far as I can tell, that's the most of any of the non-expansion teams). Unfortunately, they only have 13 players under contract, meaning they have less than half of their salary budget to spend on roughly half of their team.

Of course, all of this is unfortunately based on a host of assumptions, which in itself is another glaring problem. While it's somewhat understandable that MLS wants to keep their contracts under limited public exposure, other leagues with salary caps are far more open. It's hardly novel to request that MLS be more transparent, but I dare say that this is just another example of how the fan experience could be enhanced if it was.

Team (estimated cap room): Chicago Fire ($1.1 million), Chivas USA ($250,000), Columbus Crew ($1.2 million), Colorado Rapids ($350,000), FC Dallas ($530,000), DC United ($500,000), Houston Dynamo ($1.5 million), Sporting KC ($516,000), Los Angeles Galaxy ($0), New England Revolution ($590,000), New York Red Bulls ($0), Philadelphia Union ($1.1 million), Real Salt Lake ($211,000), Seattle Sounders ($0), Toronto FC ($330,000), San Jose Earthquakes ($920,000).

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Hot Time In Old Town: Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Jimmy Conrad Could Fit

As has been pointed out numerous times, Wednesday's first-ever MLS Re-Entry Draft includes lots of recognizable names. A team merely interested in grabbing some headlines in the local media, could probably do so rather easily during the draft.

The question, obviously, is how many of these big-name players are really worth their prices. Every player available is there for a reason, and that's generally because their former teams didn't feel like paying them what they were owed.

That said, the Chicago Fire are coming off just their second playoff-less season in their history, have lost or are poised to lose several veterans and have some money to spend.

Hot Time In Old Town's Merwin Mixdorf assesses this situation and sees some rather attractive names. Jimmy Conrad could prove to be a suitable replacement for the likes of CJ Brown, despite his hefty price tag. Even more interestingly, he thinks Guillermo Barros Schelotto could prove to be the perfect replacement for the likely departing Freddie Ljungberg.

If the guy doesn't cost us a DP slot he has to be the number one option for this team at the 7 position of the draft. He has been playing a bit deeper and creates well for his team mates. He doesn't need to dribble to create which would fit in well with Pappa, Nyarko, and Castillo. He does come with some risk. He is old and faded down the stretch for Columbus last season. On the plus side he won't have to play in Champions League games which should make him fresher later in the season.

The reality, though, is Stage 1 of this draft is unlikely to be particularly active. The more intriguing portion of the draft will be Dec. 15, when players can be selected and their contracts renegotiated.

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Black And Red United: Jimmy Conrad Tops Re-Entry Draft Wish List

This is the first year of the Re-Entry Draft, so it's hard to say how active teams are planning to be. An early reading of the tealeaves suggests this first stage, at least, might not be particularly interesting as teams are still trying to assess what they intend to do with whatever payroll freedom they have.

The one team that has openly expressed interest in using this draft as a way to rebuild is DC United, the team which happens to have the first pick.

"The good thing with this league is, when you have a season like ours, it gives you a little boost," head coach Ben Olsen said. "We’ve been punished plenty of times [for past success], so now we get to sit at the top of some of these things and make some decisions. I think throughout the league, there’s some guys that can help us for sure."

But even Olsen's boss cautioned against expecting too much, pointing out most of the players in this draft pool are there because they were deemed too expensive by their former team.

Keeping that in mind, Black and Red United's Martin Shatzer runs down his list of players he thinks DC is likely to target.

Jimmy Conrad - A veteran center back has been leading Kansas City's defense for eight years. And he's only 33-years old. Conrad was the MLS Defender of the Year in 2005, and was a member of MLS's Best XI as recently as 2008. Out of the experienced center backs available, Conrad might be the top choice.

Cory Gibbs - Gibbs is one of those guys who seemingly has been around forever, but really he's only 30. He's played in Germany, in England, and now is on his second stint in MLS. Gibbs started 25 games for the New England Revolution, who led the league in goals allowed in 2010.

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MLS Re-Entry Draft: Full List Of Eligible Players Released

As expected, the list of players eligible for Wednesday's first stage of the Re-Entry Draft.

Among the notable names eligible are former Designated Players Guillermo Barros Schelloto, Claudio Lopez and Juan Pablo Angel; the league's top two career goal scorers, Jeff Cunningham and Jaime Moreno; and former Best XI players Jimmy Conrad and Pat Onstad; and former U.S. national teamers Josh Wolff and Frankie Hejduk.

The teams will pick in the in the reverse order of their 2010 finish, with DC United picking first and the Colorado Rapids picking 16th. The Vancouver Whitecaps will pick 17th and the Portland Timbers will pick last.

Players who are picked in this stage of the draft will have to be signed at their option price. Players who aren't picked can then enter the second stage of the draft, which will be held on Dec. 15. Players picked in that stage can renegotiate their contracts.

 

LAST NAME

FIRST NAME

2010 CLUB

CONTRACT STATUS

Saragosa

Marcelo

Chivas USA

Option

Zotinca

Alex

Chivas USA

Option

Lopez

Claudio

Colorado Rapids

Option

O'Brien

Ciaran

Colorado Rapids

Option

Vagenas

Peter

Colorado Rapids

Option

Hejduk

Frankie

Columbus Crew

Option

Oughton

Duncan

Columbus Crew

Option

Padula

Gino

Columbus Crew

Option

Schelotto

Guillermo Barros

Columbus Crew

Option

Moreno

Jaime

D.C. United

Option

Cunningham

Jeff

FC Dallas

Option

Sala

Dario

FC Dallas

Option

Cochrane

Ryan

Houston Dynamo

Option

Mulrooney

Richard

Houston Dynamo

Option

Ngwenya

Joseph

Houston Dynamo

Option

Onstad

Pat

Houston Dynamo

Option

Serioux

Adrian

Houston Dynamo

Option

Kirovski

Jovan

LA Galaxy

Option

Kovalenko

Dema

LA Galaxy

Option

Sharpe

Chris

League Pool Goalkeeper

Option

Burpo

Preston

New England Revolution

Option

Colaluca

Nico

New England Revolution

Option

Gibbs

Cory

New England Revolution

Option

Smith

Khano

New England Revolution

Option

Angel

Juan Pablo

New York Red Bulls

Option

Sassano

Luke

New York Red Bulls

Option

Talley

Carey

New York Red Bulls

Option


Fred

Philadelphia Union

Out of Contract

Seitz

Chris

Philadelphia Union

Option

Stephenson

Khari

San Jose Earthquakes

Option

Marshall

Tyrone

Seattle Sounders FC

Option

Conrad

Jimmy

Sporting Kansas City

Out of Contract

Hohlbein

Aaron

Sporting Kansas City

Out of Contract

Wolff

Josh

Sporting Kansas City

Option

Garcia

Nick

Toronto FC

Option

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Explaining The Major League Soccer Re-Entry Draft

One of the consolations MLS players won in their new Collective Bargaining Agreement was some level of increased movement. They didn't get free agency, or really anything much like it, but they were able to break what amounted to MLS teams owning a player's league rights for perpetuity.

That relative level of freedom comes mainly in the form of the Re-Entry drafts. The first of those drafts will be held on Friday. While the exact list of players entered in it won't be released until just before, we do know the basic rules.

Here's the official MLS language explaining who's eligible:

1. Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years experience in MLS whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2011).

2. Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available at 2010 salary).

3. Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2010 salary).

In less abstract terms, if a team wants to pay a player who is under contract with at least three years of MLS experience less than they are due to make next year, that player can generally enter the Re-Entry Draft with the hope that some other team is willing to honor his contract. 

Players who are out of contract and are at least 25 years old and have four years of experience can also go into the Re-Entry draft and be paid the same amount they made last year. Players that are at least 30 with eight years of MLS experience in the same situation would be due a 5 percent pay raise.

These are different than the players who were waived by their teams last week - like Collins John, late of the Chicago Fire, or Mista, the former Toronto FC Designated Player. Rather, this draft is reserved for players whose rights are still controlled by their current team.

This stage of the draft is likely to be full of somewhat recognizable names who are due significant pay raises, but whose performance or playing time may be on the decline. Sounders center back Tyrone Marshall and Sporting Kansas City forward Josh Wolff have both been revealed as players who are likely to enter.

In years past, players that were unwilling to take a pay cut had limited options as teams could just hold their rights.

"This is one of the major changes compared to previous years. In previous years, if the player’s existing team offered him a lower salary, the player didn’t have many options. Now the players have more leverage in that negotiating process," said Todd Durbin, MLS Executive Vice President of Player Relations and Competition.

Players who go unclaimed in this draft, but still can't come to a contract agreement with their current teams, can then choose to enter the second Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 15. During that draft, the picking teams are free to negotiate new deals with the players. If the player and team still can't come to a contract agreement, that player can seek other offers but the drafting team will retain the right of first refusal.

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