Well, for no reason I was awake deep into last night and was mindlessly refreshing my Twitter feed when Taylor Twellman dropped this nugget for New England Revolution fans at about 12:30 AM EST:
More @USSoccer news on player transfer front: Michael Parkhurst will be in @MLS in 2014 and not with @NERevolution. #Trade #MLSCombine— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) January 13, 2014
And when you combine it with this tweet from Mark Connolly, who works with Twellman and Alexi Lalas on ESPN's "Big Head, Red Head" Podcast, we're starting to get somewhere:
NE traded up to get the top pick in the SuperDraft last year. Well, I'm hearing they are making a trade that lands the 4th pick this year.— Marc Connolly (@mconnolly10) January 12, 2014
So of course, this is going to lead to a fairly obvious and mostly rational thought that I and many others had, including Andy Edwards of MLSSoccer.com:
Putting 2 (https://t.co/n4B70SPFHV) and 2 (https://t.co/qsm2OyHDCf) together = Parkhurst + allocation $$$ to #Crew96 for 4th overall pick?— Andy Edwards (@AndyEdMLS) January 13, 2014
And then around 1AM last night, all of this seemed to be comfirmed when Ives Galarcep tweeted and Seth Vertenley posted on Goal.com that the Crew would send the 4th overall pick and an undisclosed sum of allocation money to the Revs for Parkhurst's rights.
Before I get into the Revolution's draft options if this pans out, I would like to express how happy I am for Michael Parkhurst's return to MLS, even if it won't be with the Revolution. Sadly, the Revolution are pretty set right now on the defensive side (although a Tierney-Goncalves-Parkhurst-Farrell back line would destroy all) and, grudgingly, it makes more sense to move Parkhurst than it does to sign him. And I love Parky, wrote a glowing review of him and his chances with the United States Men's National Team at right back after the 2013 Gold Cup but that hasn't translated into playing time for him abroad.
And since a return to MLS actually makes sense for Parkhurst in a World Cup year, as much as I want to see that previous backline in real life and not just in my FIFA 13 career mode, it makes sense for him to go to a different club. And for the Revs to use his rights to acquire a really nice draft pick...and I hate typing that previous sentence.
Now, this is all just educated speculation but, in theory, this would leave the Revolution with the Columbus Crew's natural 4th overall pick, the Revs' natural pick at 12th overall and Sporting Kansas City's natural pick at 19th overall (acquired in the Benny Feilhaber trade) going into this Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.
That's not bad for a team that is looking to build a lot of depth, particularly up front and on the wings, for a team that already has a decent attacking punch. Yes, the Revolution probably can't replace Juan Agudelo and Saer Sene's injury will keep him out in the early part of the season, but I would say that the Revs are hardly in a position of need anywhere on the roster.
And with three picks in the first round, they can address the areas of the roster that need the most help, mainly striker and winger and possibly a versatile midfield player. Will the signing of Charlie Davies and presumably the signing of Esmael Goncalves help, along with the return of Sene midseason? Certainly, but that doesn't mean the Revs can't add more options to their attack and depth to their overall roster.
And the most logical answer to the Revolution moving up into the 4th pick would be the ability to select Maryland forward Patrick Mullins, assuming that he's available. D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union own the top two spots and two good California defenders Christian Dean and Steve Birnbaum are generally projected top picks. The Vancouver Whitecaps seem almost a near certainty to select UConn GK Andre Blake, who's really, really, good.
That could leave the Revs with a good chance to select one of the best attackers in the draft, but again, nothing is concrete. DC could take Mullins first overall, despite the fact he's not a Generation Adidas player, and scrap that whole idea I just wrote out but that wouldn't leave the Revs without options at the 4th pick.
Schillo Tshuma, also from Maryland (who were runners up to Notre Dame in the 2013 NCAA College Cup), could be a great fit as a striker/winger with the Revs and is also a member of this year's Generation Adidas class. Marlon Hairston, a GA player from Louisville, is a good central midfielder and would be a good pickup despite the Revs already crowded and talented group at the position. Steve Neumann from Georgetown is another striker rated toward the top half of the first round but like Mullins is not a Generation Adidas member.
If the Revs do get a chance and actually draft Mullins, I wouldn't be surprised to see them take a player like Stanford's J.J. Koval, a versatile central midfielder that TBM actually picked 12th overall in SB Nation's mock MLS SuperDraft. I'm personally a big fan of UConn striker Mamadou Diouf who had a big junior season in 2012 but struggled a bit with injuries in 2013 and is projected to be a late first/early second round pick. All of these selections would add to an already solid roster and give the Revs flexibility with their draft picks going into the later rounds.
Personally, I think this could be a potentially great move if a lot of pieces fall in the correct order. And it is A LOT of pieces but they all do make some sort of sense. And with the SuperDraft only a few days away, the speculation is only going to be increasing.