It had to happen eventually; the Portland Timbers have announced their first moves of the off-season as two players have been waived, two players have had their options declined, and another six are currently out of contract.
David Horst and Ryan Miller, both coming off major injuries during the 2013 season, have had their contract options declined by the team and will be available in the Re-entry Draft on Thursday. Horst, the last player on the Timbers to join the team through the 2011 expansion draft, only played in two games for the Timbers this year before suffering a tibial plateau fracture that kept him out for the remainder of the season. Miller played seven games for the Timbers, starting four, but could not surpass Jack Jewsbury as the starting right back before succumbing to a stress fracture in his leg that took him out for the rest of the season as well.
Brent Richards and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, our #31 and #30 players in the 2013 player rankings, were waived today. Neither player was able to make much of an impact with the team this year, before going out due to injuries of their own. Richards, the Timbers' first homegrown player signing, tore his ACL early in the preseason, while Tucker-Gangnes was forced to miss half of the year thanks to ongoing concussion concerns.
The players out of contract currently are Ryan Johnson, Milos Kocic, Brad Ring, and Sal Zizzo, all of whom has been extended "bona fide" offers, as well as Frederic Piquionne and Sebastian Rincon, both of whom are in discussions with MLS for new contracts. In this case, a bona fide offer generally means that they have been offered their current salary or a 2-5% increase, depending on their age and time in MLS.
This round of cuts leaves the Timbers with 21 players currently under contract with the team, including nine players whose options were picked up for the 2014 season: Will Johnson, Michael Nanchoff, Rodney Wallace, Ben Zemanski, Futty Danso, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Pa Modou Kah, Rauwshan McKenzie, and Jake Gleeson.
Particularly thin right now is the forward position with only Maximiliano Urruti and Jose Adolfo Valencia, strongly rumored to be going on loan in Argentina next season, currently on the roster.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS EXERCISE OPTIONS ON NINE PLAYERS
Club declines contract options for two players, waives two, six out of contract
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers today announced that the club has exercised the 2014 contract options on nine players.
Additionally, two players’ contract options were declined, two players were waived and six players from the club’s 2013 roster are out of contract.
"At the end of every season, we are faced with many decisions as we look at the roster," said Gavin Wilkinson, Timbers general manager. "There are always difficult decisions to be made, based on salary cap and the direction of the club. As we look to 2014, we have a solid core of players in place and, with that continuity, look forward to further shaping the roster ahead of the upcoming season."
The Timbers have picked up the 2014 contract options on midfielders Will Johnson, Michael Nanchoff, Rodney Wallace and Ben Zemanski; defenders Futty Danso, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Pa Modou Kah and Rauwshan McKenzie; and goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.
Twelve players are already under contract for the 2014 season: goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts; defenders Michael Harrington, Jack Jewsbury, Alvas Powell and Mikael Silvestre; midfielders Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Steven Evans, Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri; and forwards Maximiliano Urruti and Jose Valencia.
Alhassan, Chara, Nagbe and Ricketts were all re-signed to new, multiyear contracts during the 2013 season. In the case of Valeri, the Timbers purchased his contract from Argentina’s Club Atlético Lanús in August and he was re-signed to a new multiyear deal after originally joining Portland on loan. Powell continues his loan from Jamaican club Portmore United FC.
The Timbers have extended bona fide offers to forward Ryan Johnson, goalkeeper Milos Kocic and midfielders Brad Ring and Sal Zizzo. The club is in contract discussions with forwards Frederic Piquionne and Sebastián Rincón, and retains their MLS rights. All six players are currently out of contract.
The Timbers declined the 2014 contract options on defenders David Horst and Ryan Miller. Both Horst and Miller are eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Additionally, defender Dylan Tucker-Gangnes and forward Brent Richards were waived.
"We want to thank David, Brent, Ryan and Dylan for their service to the club and for being great ambassadors in the community; all four are first-class," said Wilkinson. "David’s dedication to the club over the last three years, both in the locker room and in his outstanding efforts in the community, is greatly appreciated. We wish him and the others all the best."
The Timbers’ 2014 roster currently includes the following players:
Goalkeepers: Jake Gleeson, Donovan Ricketts
Defenders: Futty Danso, Michael Harrington, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Rauwshan McKenzie, Alvas Powell, Mikael Silvestre
Midfielders: Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Steven Evans, Will Johnson, Darlington Nagbe, Michael Nanchoff, Diego Valeri, Rodney Wallace, Ben Zemanski
Forwards: Maximiliano Urruti, Jose Valencia