In many ways this week in MLS was like a diner breakfast. It was delicious, greasy, and many will regret quite a lot of it in due time. But if the trade windows have been the omelet, the international signings the home fries, and the expansion draft the toast, the MLS Re-Entry Draft is the parsley.
It’s just kind of there and most people don’t eat it.
Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft will take place at high noon on Friday. One of the primary mechanisms for signing veteran MLS players who are either out of contract or had their options declined by their former teams, the Re-Entry Draft is typically used to fill spots down the depth chart.
In Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft, a team selecting a player must either exercise the option declined by the player’s former team or, if the player is out of contract, make a "bona fide offer" to the player. Although the parameters of what constitutes a "bone fide offer" are not exactly clear, it is generally believed to be an offer near the player’s prior salary.
In Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft, the selecting team is free to negotiate a new salary with the player.
For this reason, Stage Two is traditionally more active than Stage One, as there is usually a reason a player was not re-signed by their old team or their option was not exercised. 2013, however, had an unusually active Stage One with five players selected – Sean Franklin, Steve Zakuani, Corben Bone, Marc Burch, and, remarkably, 2014 Best XI centerback Bobby Boswell.
More typically, however, one or two journeyman players are selected in Stage One with six or eight being picked up in Stage Two.
The Timbers, for their part, have only ever made one selection in the Re-Entry Draft – the team’s selection of Zakuani in Stage One in 2013. Kalif Alhassan, Rauwshan McKenzie, and Danny O’Rourke represent the 2014 Timbers delegation in the Re-Entry Draft.
On Thursday MLS posted the full list of players available in this year’s Re-Entry Draft and, well, it’s not overwhelming. The Timbers will select eighth, and, based on the current roster, seem most likely to pick up a centerback, if they make any selection.
Probably the best centerback on the list is former Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare, but his $330,000 base salary in 2014 makes him cost-prohibitive in Stage One. Former Colorado centerback/fullback Marvell Wynne may be another Stage-Two possibility. As for a player who may draw the Timbers’ eye in Stage One, former Whitecaps centerback Carlyle Mitchell appears to be the best combination of value and talent, even if he is not exactly oozing with the latter.
Other notable players available for selection include 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, former Sounders and Whitecaps midfielder Mauro Rosales, deposed Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, forgotten 2006 World Cup winger Bobby Convey, Timbers alumni Troy Perkins and Futty Danso, formerly speedy Houston and Colorado striker Omar Cummings, and stud-raking defensive midfielder Oswaldo Minda.
While possible the Timbers may find somebody to their liking in Stage Two, it seems overwhelmingly likely Portland will pass in Stage One.
I guess some people eat their parsley, though.