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Reviewing the Expansion Draft Aftermath

Dax McCarty was acquired and then immediately traded by the Timbers.
Alright, I know I promised to get this live by last night, but, honestly, there was so much happening yesterday I was almost too afraid to write anything for fear that in the next hour it would change. Also, I was originally planning on just writing up a piece on the expansion draft about each player, what I think they can do for our organization and how I believe they will fit in. Again, that no longer really applies due to all the player movements. Instead I'll just be hashing out my thoughts in various titled sections beginning with...

Dax McCarty and Why we traded him

Alright, so, when this news officially broke I was quite upset. I mean, Dax is a great player, nobody can doubt that much. After mulling over the situation for quite a while, I've calmed down a bit. But first, let's look at what we traded him for, as I still believe DCU shafted us quite nicely.

In exchange for Dax McCarty and allocation money, we received Rodney Wallace and DCU's fourth round SuperDraft pick. So we essentially gave away a great player on the MLS Cup runner-up for a player nobody really knows too much about from the leagues worst team last year. Additionally, we gave allocation money to DCU for a worthless fourth round draft pick. If you're unfamiliar with the SuperDraft check out the 2011 Wikipedia page and scroll down to the fourth round. Yeah, that's the bottom of the barrel and not many players from there stick around for very long.

Overwhelmingly, I'm just frustrated at how amateur this makes us look. Alright, so the Timbers FO didn't have Dax McCarty in their plans. I can certainly respect that. However, the fact that we just gave him away for nothing is almost unbearable. He was a high valued commodity and we shipped him off for peanuts.

Looking on the bright side, however, I have to believe that the Timbers FO has a plan. They obviously prefer to go young, which I can totally, 100% respect and get behind. Aging teams play slower and are generally less exciting to watch. As great as David Beckham and Theirry Henry are technically, I'd take a Landon Donovan any day of the week. I can only hope/imagine the reason for trading Dax McCarty is because the Timbers are already planning/negotiating with another, higher caliber CM to focus the team around. Rumors have it being Benny Feilhaber, but I'm not convinced of those. Regardless, I have to believe something exciting is in the works.

Bornstein, Findley... What?

Okay, I was pretty happy with our expansion draft picks up until we hit Findley and then doubly so once we "acquired" Bornstein. As many of you already know, both Findley and Bornstein have aspirations to take their game outside of MLS with Bornstein actually already having signed a contract with Tigres of Mexico. It's the reason why both were left unprotected in their expansion drafts. So why did the Timbers select two players that have no intention of staying in MLS? Because now we own the rights to them if they come back.

Both Wilkinson and Spencer have state that the reason for acquiring the rights to these two players is so that if they decide that player elsewhere isn't that great and wish to come back to MLS, then we would own their rights. A bit forward thinking, but ultimately could prove useful. The only problem with this that I see is that we need players now... like right now, not in the future.

Look both Findley and Bornstein are good MLS players. Not the best and neither are certainly going to be moving the the Premiere League, but in terms of where our league is right now I'd say they're both above average (a B in grade school terms). So the fact that we own them in the future might as well pay off. However, that's a large gamble and one that realistically won't really pay off. Let's say a year from now both flunk out of their respective teams and wish to come back to play in MLS. We own them so we get to play them right? Yes, but would we even want to?

A year from now we are going to be a solid outfit. Over the course of 2011 our team is going to mesh with each other and build with each other. Chances are if those players come back, we won't need them. They're good, but only if you build a team around those players. Both Findley and Bornstein were great because of the players RSL and Chivas surrounded them with (2010 notwithstanding for Bornstein). Our own team is going to be built around a different striker and defender, respectively. How will they fit in to that?

Additionally, when/if they come back to MLS we'll have to negotiate salary with them all over again. Now, when you're raised playing in the MLS, a $150,000/year contract seems kind of nice. Hell, it is nice. Howeverm coming from overseas or even Mexico, that amount is paltry. Given each players' new found "experience" playing overseas, they're probably going to demand a higher paying salary,possibly even DP money. Now unless both went to their respective leagues and set the world on fire, neither is worth any kind of DP money.

So what do we do with em if they do come back? Trade em? Possibly. Right now it just seems like a stupid move and one thats never going to pay off, at least not in the manner that one would expect. Right now this just seems like two completely wasted Expansion Draft picks.

Alex Nimo Waived by Real Salt Lake

Ah Nimo, I had him in my Expansion Draft pick for the sole reason that I knew the Timbers would want to focus on younger, speedier players and that he has already had two fairly good seasons with the Timbers, playing with Ryan Pore, Bright Dike and Steve Cronin. Unfortunately, he wasn't picked outright, or maybe I should say fortunately because soon after the Expansion Draft had concluded, Real Salt Lake waived him from the team, allowing the Timbers to sign him if they please. Will they? No idea.

If there's one thing I know about the Timbers MLS FO right now it's that I know very little about the intentions of the Timbers MLS FO. I know they want young players, but then they trade a perfectly great young M in Dax McCarty for peanuts (as I mentioned above). So who's to say what exactly they want? Not me.

What I will say, however, is that I would be very surprised if Nimo didn't at least get offered to join the combine in January for training/evaluation. Make no mistake about it, Nimo is young and a decent player. Despite spending the last two years with us in D2 soccer, he certainly has the skills to grow well in MLS. I would hope that, if he does get invited, he impresses enough so that the Timbers will bring him on for 2011. Probably not as a starter, but at least as an occasional sub.

Plus, who's going to drag fake/diving players off the field if Nimo isn't on our team? That's what I call a utility player.

The Rest of the Picks

Overall, I thought that many of our normal picks were quite good, if a bit unexpected. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Timbers actually took Eric Brunner, which I had predicted in my own expansion draft. I believe Brunner will be a fantastic defender for us.

Additionally I believe Peter Lowry and David Horst were two solid pick ups for us, both of which are players I can see becoming starters.

Adam Moffat and Jordan Graye are two players I'm not very familiar with, but I'll be excited to see how they perform come next season. I also wouldn't be surprised if they got traded for other players.

Finally, both Altura Alvarez and Anthony Wallace were already traded. Alturo Alvarez is going to Real Salt Lake in exchange for RSL's second SuperDraft pick (#22). Anthony Wallace was then traded back to Colorado for allocation money. Two solid trades for players that realistically probably wouldn't have fit our team anyway.

It's clear to me that with those last two trades, the Timbers are definitely betting a lot on the ability to bring in outside players and also their ability to craft a well rounded team out of the SuperDraft, something that has actually proven to be quite costly to past expansion teams.


Overall, at the end of yesterday, I just had to tell myself that the only thing that matters is the team we take to the field with come March 2011. Everything that happened during the Expansion Draft doesn't really matter. The Timbers have come out and said that they only expect 4-5 players to stick with the team from the Expansion Draft and the rest were just trade bait (or in the case of Bornstein and Findley, future prospects). While I'm still a bit peeved at some of our odd choices, I'm not writing the Timbers off yet as an expansion team. Our FO has been at this for a while not and I'm confident that the team that walks out of the locker room on the first game of the season next year will be a team to contend with.

Enjoy the holiday and let's hope things improve over the next few months.