With the window officially closed, it appears we’re all-clear. It’s possible (and probably probable) that a few more deals will trickle out around the league over the course of the day.
At 3:00 p.m. PT MLS will release the list of players eligible for selection in the Expansion Draft. At that point we will know who the Timbers have protected from selection by LAFC.
Thanks for joining in the 2017 Half-Day Trade Window Live Blog!
Timbers trade alert!
A Timbers trade! I’m hearing the Timbers will acquire a 2018 international roster spot from DC united in exchange for the right to negotiate with Darren Mattocks. #RCTID— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) December 10, 2017
More to come.
Here we go. The smaller deals are starting to roll in.
BREAKING: Dynamo have acquired Houston native Arturo Alvarez from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.— Corey Roepken (@RipSports) December 10, 2017
Alvarez, a 32-year old attacking player, has 32 goals and 30 assists in 11 MLS seasons.
That Atlanta deal, in particular, screams “Here’s an international slot. Don’t take our players on Tuesday. XOXO, Tata.”
And this, too, screams “We have to rearrange our roster to meet Expansion Draft international protection rules.”
Some expansion draft semantics at play here. But Jones has plans to retire. Pasher, Oliveira out the door already. https://t.co/9tJQU3KnFt— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) December 10, 2017
Jones, mind you, is planning to retire.
Now this is fun. Walker Zimmerman doing the dopey “slowly lift head wearing cap” thing that every LAFC signing does, but he KICKS THE HAT ONTO HIS HEAD FIRST.
Given that Vancouver is making Kamara a DP (at least for now), it seems almost certain that VAN is carrying the full brunt of his 2018 salary. And they lost their natural 2019 1st Round pick. Holy smokes that’s a terrible deal for Vancouver.— Chris Rifer (@ChrisRifer) December 10, 2017
Jeff Carlisle of ESPN also reports that the Whitecaps are looking at bringing back Fredy Montero on loan. If you can figure out what the Whitecaps are doing, you’re a better person than I.
Now we have a big one. Kevin Baxter at the LA Times is reporting Walker Zimmerman is going to LAFC for $500,000 TAM and the top spot in the allocation order. This is a legitimate blockbuster, and carries a significant return for Dallas.
Zimmerman struggled through the end of the season, but as recently as last summer was seen as a likely USMNT contributor going forward. This is LAFC’s first major domestic acquisition, and it’s a big one. Now we’ll have to wait and see what Dallas is going to do with the top spot in the allocation order.
As an aside, I’d wondered if the Timbers were going to play in the market for Zimmerman. Given the acquisition cost, even if they played I can see why they backed away. That’s a massive, massive return for an out-of-form player.
Holy smokes, Whitecaps.
Now told that Kamara will make around $1 million in 2018, though obviously that doesn't change his cap hit.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) December 10, 2017
That’s a lot of TAM (or DP spot???) to spend on a modest producer. Add in the draft picks that the ‘Caps sent to New England and it’s hard to see how this pencils out for Vancouver. It’s possible New England is eating a chunk of Kamara’s contract, but given that NE just picked up Kamara’s option it seems a true salary dump is unlikely. As of now it looks like the ‘Caps shipped out draft picks to take on an aging, average striker on a terrible contract.
That’s ... not good business.
And now Jeff Carlisle at ESPN has it: Kamara to Vancouver in exchange for unspecified draft picks.
Color me skeptical of this move for the Whitecaps.
Given that we know that there’s at least the possibility of a Timbers trade out there, it’s worth exploring (okay, speculating about) logical trade pieces.
The Timbers’ most likely Expansion Draft fodder seems to be Zarek Valentin, who is coming off a good year at right back. There are, simply put, a handful of teams that would like to have him as either depth or even a starter. If the Timbers fear losing Valentin in the Expansion Draft they could look to move him today.
For a splashier surprise, I think it’s worth keeping our eyes on the market for Vytas. By any measure Vytas has been a solid-to-good left back for the Timbers, but it was clear at times in 2017 that at least Caleb Porter thought he was at least a bit inconsistent. Vytas, though, is clearly a guy that would have some value within MLS, and if the Timbers are looking to upgrade Vytas would be a guy that could yield some return.
Finally, Darlington Nagbe. This is a seemingly annual exercise now, but it remains possible that the Timbers could move on from Nagbe. Given the amount of TAM flowing around the league, the intra-MLS return could be significant if the Timbers are looking to move Nagbe. Although it’s certainly possible (probably likely, to be honest) that the attacking player the Timbers are targeting this offseason is of the super-depth type, it may make sense to move Nagbe now while he still has peak value if the Timbers are confident they have a starting-quality player coming in.
Ask and ye shall receive. We have a reported trade! Even if it’s hardly earth-shattering.
Brillant was a part-time starter at centerback for NYCFC last year, but the club declined his option this fall. It was rumored that the Citizens remind in discussions with Brilliant about coming back, but clearly NYCFC decided it was preferable to get some GAM and an international spot rather than re-sign Brilliant.
Apparently D.C. United isn’t done, either...
Update: NYCFC’s return — pretty modest.
$75K in gen alllocation money. He signed a 2-year contract.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 10, 2017
The opening stretch of the window is usually quieter (for obvious reasons), but there’s a lot of activity going on behind the scenes. Last year we had Gavin Wilkinson on Soccer Made in Portland after this day and he confessed to getting in the office a little after 5:00 a.m.
For now, though, the juiciest bit we have on the league-wide scene is the report of Kei Kamara to the Whitecaps. Even at 33, Kamara can still be useful, but his strike rate has never recovered after his torrid 2015 campaign. Despite playing over 2300 minutes in both 2016 and 2017, Kamara only scored 12 goals in both seasons. The days of considering Kamara an elite or even above-average starting MLS striker, then, appear to be over. If that’s what the Whitecaps are depending on him for, it’s hard to see this working out for Vancouver. If he’s an insurance policy for the Anthony Blondell, a 23 year-old striker the ‘Caps have signed out of Venezuela for whom they’re already using TAM, it may be a bit more sensible. But unless Kamara’s 2018 salary is considerably less than the $800,000 he made in 2017, that’s an expensive insurance policy even in the TAM-heavy environment that we’re in.
We should do a quick Timbers Twitter wrap-up before we get too far, as there was some (now deleted) action from Merritt Paulson’s Twitter on Saturday.
First, it appears the Timbers have identified their next coach! No, we don’t yet have a name, but it appears Paulson and Gavin Wilkinson moved quickly and identify Caleb Porter’s successor and would seem to have an agreement in place, if not yet finalized. For today’s purposes, the significance is that the Timbers are now undoubtedly working with said coach on any deals they’re making today or in the next couple weeks. As for when we can expect an announcement? Who knows — but relatively soon, you’d think.
Second, it sounds like the Timbers have something else in the works. It’s hard to say whether that’s a trade which could be completed either today or after the Expansion Draft, or something else. But there’s something else out there.
[mutters under breath]
Good morning and welcome to the 2017 MLS Half-Day Trade Window Live Blog! We’ll have all the action from around MLS right here, so check back throughout the morning for updates.
There’s already been some rumored action over the last couple days. On Friday news dropped that the coach of an expansion team traded for his son. No, not that one. Minnesota United traded pocket lint to Atlanta for Harrison Heath, son of Adrian Heath.
Okay, let’s get a bit juicier. Last night Steve Ewen an The Province reported the Vancouver Whitecaps are looking to put a trade together for Kei Kamara. We’ll have time to take a deeper dive on this one, but if this trade pans out it would seem to foretell the Whitecaps not moving to buy Fredy Montero after his loan from Tianjin TEDA.
The 2017 MLS season is over. And that means the 2018 offseason is beginning in earnest.
The offseason will formally kick off bright and early at 6:00 a.m. PT on Sunday when the MLS half-day trade window opens before closing at 10:00 a.m. in anticipation of Tueaday’s Expansion Draft.
Two factors make this four-hour trade window likely to be especially active. First, on Sunday afternoon teams have to release their protected lists for the Expansion Draft. To do so, many teams will want to get certain roster decisions finalized so that they don’t have to protect players they’ll ultimately send away. Second, MLS just announced a huge infusion of $2.8 million in additional targeted allocation money into the market. As a result, virtually every team is flush with cash and trade pieces.
In addition to full coverage of any deal the Timbers make, Stumptown Footy will be tracking all the trade window action across MLS — yes, starting at 6:00 a.m. Check back to this article for updates through the morning. And down in the comments Chris Rifer will be conducting an AMA throughout to discuss everything Timbers and MLS offseason.