The MLS Cup Final is this weekend, but it's not the only thing happening anytime soon. The Expansion Draft is on December 10th, just three days after the championship game.
Given the depth of talent on the Revs' roster, it stands to reason that at least one player no one wants to lose is going to be gone. That said, we've compiled our list of players we'd like to see protected. First, here's a look at the rules for this draft.
- MLS clubs may protect 11 players between their Senior Roster and their Supplemental Roster. If the player's contract expires at the end of 2014, he will still be considered part of the club's roster.
- If a club protects a player, it is not obligated to exercise the player's option. It may renegotiate subject to terms of the CBA.
- If a player retires, he will not be a part of the club's roster, but his club will lose its right of first refusal to him should he ultimately decide to play.
- Players on a club's Supplemental Roster, other than Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2014 MLS season or Homegrown Players on a club's Supplemental Roster, will be part of the expansion draft.
- Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2014 MLS season and Homegrown Players on a club's Supplemental Roster at the end of the 2014 MLS season are automatically protected (clubs do not have to use a protected slot on them).
- If NYCFC or Orlando City SC selects a Supplemental Roster Player, it must offer him a Senior Roster position and he must remain on the Senior Roster as of Roster Compliance Date.
- Clubs are restricted in the number of International Player(s) that they may make available. Clubs may make available a number of International Players equal to their total number of International Players minus three, provided that if a club has three or fewer International Players it may make available not more than one. (See table below).
- For purposes of this expansion process, any non-domestic U.S. players will count as an International.
- Designated Players are NOT automatically protected (i.e., clubs must choose whether to protect such players and if such player is not protected, he will be available for selection in the Expansion Draft). However, if the Designated Player has a no-trade clause in his contract, then his MLS club must protect him and he will count as one of the 11 players who may be protected.
- Once two players have been claimed from a team's non-protected roster, that team is eliminated from the expansion draft and may not lose any further players. In addition, once a player has been claimed from a club's non-protected roster, that club may move a player from its non-protected roster to its protected roster.
- Right to Negotiate: NYCFC and Orlando City SC will have the right to renegotiate a draft player's salary (either up or down) without having to place such player on waivers or giving his previous club a right of first refusal.
- Rounds: The expansion draft will consist of 10 rounds.
With that in mind, we're protecting the following:
- Geoffrey Castillion
- Charlie Davies
- Diego Fagundez
- Andrew Farrell
- Jose Goncalves
- Jermaine Jones
- Daigo Kobayashi
- Lee Nguyen
- Kelyn Rowe
- Chris Tierney
- A.J. Soares
- Scott Caldwell*
* - As a Home-grown Player on the Supplemental Roster, Caldwell is automatically protected.
Some of these are pretty obvious. Guys like Nguyen, Jones, and Farrell were always going to be protected. We'll take a second to explain some of the less-obvious choices below.
Fagundez was protected because, as it turns out, he isn't automatically protected like Caldwell. He's a high-paid HGP and therefore is eligible to be placed on the Supplemental Roster, go off-budget, and be protected, but according to our sources, he is not. That seems to be more of a roster construction issue than anything else.
Castillion and Kobayashi are protected primarily because the Revs have to protect three internationals. Goncalves is a clear choice, and protecting those two seemed like a better choice than protecting Dimitry Imbongo or Jerry Bengtson. Besides, it is highly unlikely that either Orlando or New York will select either of the unprotected internationals.
Finally, you may notice the conspicuous absence of Teal Bunbury, Patrick Mullins, and Steve Neumann. The latter two are casualties of the protection limit. While they are both promising and exciting young players, they are also replaceable.
Bunbury, on the other hand, was a tough choice to leave off the list. When it came down to it, we felt that left-back was a position that was much more difficult to replace, and chose Chris Tierney instead. Plus, Bunbury is out of a contract after this season, which could make him less attractive to the expansion teams. It was, however, by no means an easy decision, and if the Revs end up protecting Bunbury, it won't be an objectionable move at all.
What do you think? Is our list on-point, or would you protect someone else?