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To Draft or Not to Draft: First Round Trades

What should the Timbers do with their first round pick?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

With the Portland Timbers holding the 5th spot in the 2014 MLS Superdraft, the team should be able to pick up a good young talent for the future or perhaps a solid player that could step in and contribute right away. The Timbers, however, do not have a great history of utilizing their draft picks.

So, would the Timbers do better to pick up someone with the 5th pick, or would the team be better trading the pick away?

Yesterday we looked at some recent 5th overall picks. Now let's look at some of the previous trades that have seen teams move in and out of the top picks.

First Round Trades

Trades Already Made for 2015

Two of the three trades already made in the first round of this year's Superdraft involve the Timbers and, on review, seem like some tidy pieces of work. Before taking a slightly more historical view, let's look at the movement that has already taken place in the 2015 draft order.

Danny Mwanga (Portland Timbers to Colorado Rapids)

Mwanga was struggling during his time in Portland and rarely seeing any time on the pitch during the 2012 season, so a straight swap for the Rapid's first round pick seemed like a bit of a reach from Colorado back in 2013. Now, in hindsight, the swap was a disaster for the Rapids, who not only went into free fall this year following a slate of injuries, but who got minimal production, five off-target shot in 214 minutes, from Mwanga.

Carlos Bocanegra (Toronto FC to Chivas USA)

Where the Mwanga trade was a straight swap, this was a stick up job. With Toronto holding the top spot in the 2013 allocation order and Chivas in the second, the Goats were forced into giving up their first round pick rather than risking Toronto claiming Bocanegra as their own.

In his time at Chivas, Bocanegra was the club's captain for the better part of two years and one of their better defenders, although that is not saying much. He was, unfortunately, derailed by injuries for much of that time, however, and announced his retirement in September.

Was the trade for Bocanegra better than a first round pick for Chivas? Maybe. Bringing Bocanegra on board was one of the club's last grasps at bringing in more supporters and needed to be done in the face of an unwillingness to go out and bring in some truly high profile players. Still, it was too little, too late for the future of the club.

Maximiliano Urruti (Toronto FC to Portland Timbers)

The most complicated of the trades put through for the 2015 draft order, the Timbers got Urruti and temporary use of an international roster spot in exchange for their first round pick, allocation money, and (the beloved) Bright Dike. Although neither team really succeeded this season, it is hard to argue that Toronto got the better of the deal following a nine-goal year from the still-improving Urruti while Toronto's allocation-fueled roster imploded halfway through the season.

This trade, a package deal for a package deal, is much more in line with one can expect from most draft pick-involved transactions and something that we will see much more of when looking at the trades that effected the 2014 draft order.

Trades Made in 2014

Draft day in 2014 was madness. Pure madness. With a number of trades already made beforehand, they just kept coming during the draft itself. Many of the moves, which are not included here, were to move up or down in the draft order and involved swapping picks packaged with either allocation money or more picks.

Gabriel Farfan (Philadelphia Union to Chivas USA)

A serviceable, if hard tackling, player, Farfan was definitely a known quantity in MLS and, when Chivas brought him in he was able to step in and start right away for a team that was still reeling from the brief reign of Chelis during the early months of 2013.

Still, as with many of Chivas's moves this is a hard one to quantify as Farfan, who started 10 of his 14 games for the goals in 2013, was loaned then sold the next year to Mexican club Chiapas. While the sale would have netted Chivas some allocation money, it is hard to balance that indeterminate amount and half a year's play against the draft pick that would eventually be used by D.C. United to select Steve Birnbaum, who made 21 appearances, all of which were starts, for the Eastern Conference winners this year.

Eric Hassli (Vancouver Whitecaps to Toronto FC)

Vancouver made out like bandits on this one. After the trade was made in 2012, Hassli made seven appearances for Toronto, scoring three goals, but spent much of his half season with TFC injured. At the end of the year, Toronto traded Hassli to FC Dallas for a second round pick.

Although the Whitecaps have yet to make much use of the 3rd overall pick from this trade, Christian Dean, they did manage to get rid of a streaky and disaffected player and pick up a talent that could very well be a career starter after some time to develop.

Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution to Columbus Crew)

Following on the heels of their failure to make the playoffs in the 2013 season, the Crew went in search of defensive reinforcement and found the returning Parkhurst. An intelligent player capable of slotting in just about anywhere along the back line, Parkhurst, 30, will likely have several good years left as a starter in MLS.

Of course, the Revolution were able to hold Columbus's feet to the fire on this one as they had tried to keep Parkhurst in MLS before he set off for the green fields of Denmark back in 2008. Not only did the Revolution get a first round pick out of this one, which they used on Steve Neumann who has been a regular contributor in their attack this year, but they also received some allocation money out of the deal.

Bobby Convey (Toronto FC to New York Red Bulls)

Although he has had occasional moments of brilliance over the last few years, Convey has failed to lock down a team, let alone a starting position, since Frank Yallop's attempt to convert him to a left fullback. So, it comes as no surprise that, following this trade just before the draft, Convey only made 13 appearance for the Red Bulls this year.

It should also come as no surprise that the Red Bulls did not entirely give up the shop for him, getting a second round pick as a part of the deal as well. Chris Duvall, who New York used the pick on, actually went on to play 19 games for the Red Bulls this year and would have had more if not for an early September injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution to Sporting Kansas City)

Feilhaber has been an integral part of the SKC side that terrorized the Eastern Conference for the last two years, until their unfortunate dismantling of their team in the middle of the 2014 season. He did not come cheap, however, as SKC also had to give up a second round pick and allocation money to get their man.

Still, in his time with Kansas City, Feilhaber has been a regular contributor to the attack, posting seven goals and ten assists over two years and taking some of the playmaking pressure off Graham Zusi.

New England, meanwhile, should be happy with their pair of draft picks and whatever unknown quantity of allocation money they got for a player that reportedly wanted to be paid more than they valued him. The trade of Feilhaber coincided with the genesis of the current Revs team that we are seeing now, with players like Lee Nguyen running the show and making New England many peoples' second favorite team.

How do you feel about the Timbers' trades in the first round this year? Do you wish the Timbers had been on the receiving end of any of the rest of these trades?