This one's a toughie. Freddie Braun is one of the most likeable guys on the team.
"One thing about Freddie is, he has got a tremendous attitude," said John Spencer after the 1-1 draw against Chivas during the preseason tournament at Jeld Wen Field. "He comes in every day, works hard, and when he plays out there he really seems to rise to the occasion."
The Michigander made appearances in three regular season matches in 2012, for a grand total of 86 minutes. While nominally a center midfielder, all three of Braun's first team appearances were made in the right back position, where he performed admirably despite evident shakiness.
But after those three mid-season appearances he once again receded into the dark corners of the Timbers reserves -- missing, even, the final two reserve matches of the season.
Should he be kept on for 2013?
No. As I've said, I like Freddie. He's humble, he's a hard worker, he keeps himself healthy. And it seems harsh to cut such a young guy, especially one who was among the stars of the legendary 2010 Timbers U23s.
But a professional team that has finished near the bottom of the league simply cannot keep a guy who failed to even secure a spot on the reserve squad. As sad as I'd be to see it happen, Freddie should be cut.