12 December 2006

Adu/Rimando to RSL: Did DCU Get Enough?

Barring major developments, it seems like today will be a day devoted to The Trade. Kinney was right when he said it would take some time for us to get our heads around this one. There are so many angles to look at, let's start with the most pressing one: Was this a good deal for DC United?

We are giving up a quality keeper, one that isn't going to start with a team that has another quality option, but a good starter in his own right. We are giving up a startling level midfield player who has marketing appeal. And what do we get in return?

Well, on-hand, we get a backup keeper for Troy Perkins. Okay, a part that was necessary in this deal, since we didn't have any good options for a true #2 keeper. We get a major playor allocation. We get a conditional draft pick. We get salary cap space. Is it worth it?

The cheap answer is to say "Well, we'll have to wait until we see who we sign with those allocations." First, it seems like there is some confusion as to the nature of the allocation. From what I can tell, this is not RSL's "Designated Player (DP)" allocation (the so-called Beckham rule) but rather a typical international allocation. I'm sure I'll get corrected if I am wrong. Now, let's consider some of DC's usage of international allocations since 2004:

  1. Christian Gomez: Brilliant.
  2. Steve Guppy: Bust.
  3. Facundo Erpen: Decent.
  4. Lucio Filomeno: Bust.
  5. Mattias Donnet: TBD, but if DC can't resign him and he leaves after half a season, it was a bust.

We've gotten two strong contributors with allocations, but we've also had some missteps. Our allocation strategy is decent, but it's not a sure thing. Similarly, our history with draft picks isn't anything to brag about either. So by clearing out Freddy Adu and Nick Rimando, all DC has gained is the potential to make future moves with both cap space and roster flexibility, including an allocation and a DP slot to be used.

Does this make sense? Personally, being a fan, I would rather get a young player we could use now with this package. Rimando/Adu would have been enough to purchase a great deal. So right now I'm uneasy about this deal. The only way this makes sense is if DC has targets for both the allocation and the DP identified, and that the DP is pretty expensive. Yet even that scenario carries a certain degree of risk. While people may be quick to say "Ah, this is a bang-bang deal for both sides," I'm not sure I agree. DC has given up one play to make another, and the marginal cost to some degree must include a calculation of the uncertainty surrounding their moves. Right now, this deal makes some sense, but I doubt it is as good a deal as we could have gotten on the margins. We gave away a lot, and right now have little to show for it. Patience, I know, but this will require scrutiny from now until opening day 2007.

Update: Again, "wait and see" is not the only message. I think this requires "wait and see" with "be a tad skeptical, and think on whether whatever we get is as good as we could have gotten." I'm not saying it's a bad deal. I'm just saying that it may not be as good a deal as you could have made. Think "Opportunity cost."

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9 Comments:

At 12 December, 2006 11:42, Blogger The Deceiver said...

Thank God. I needed some sober analysis of this and you didn't disappoint. Too right: it's all about the wait and see, now. My instinct tells me that DCU's identified the player they want to go after--but you couldn't be more right to suggest that it'll all boil down to whether we avoid Filomeno Rides Again. I'll be checking back here!

 
At 12 December, 2006 11:43, Anonymous Joanna said...

How exactly do all those allocations work, anyway? Are they for one year? the length of the contract? a set $$ amount? Is this all written down somewhere or is it one of the mysteries of the universe?

 
At 12 December, 2006 12:17, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

The allocation is basically an amount of money to be used as a transfer fee. There are major and minor allocations that can be traded, depending on the player acquired. Alocations remain open until they are used.

In the early days, it was designated exclusively for "marquee international players," but that disappeared around 2001, and has now reappeared as the DP slot.

 
At 12 December, 2006 12:19, Blogger D said...

Thanks Dave. But just so we're clear on this: DCU did NOT get RSL's Designated Player slot, they just got an international allocation.

 
At 12 December, 2006 12:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trade makes some sense.
Its a step down for Freddy in terms of team prestige and coaching (backsliding to the youth coach but probably better to end the Novak drama) but it will give him the chance to really play and create on a team that has some weapons. If he's gone to Europe this summer, it won't really matter where he plays, but if he has to stick around, he'll be in a better position at RSL to develop and showcase his skills. It will be good for his development too to see how another team does things so that he can learn that some of the things he didn't like in DC are simply part of being a professional.

As for KP and United management, they've been hinting for too long about what they're going to do not to have some pretty good ideas in mind. (Brazilian striker? RDA redux? Gomez 2 Electric Boogaloo?)
Only concern is if this choice (or these choices) don't pan out, United is getting a little long in the tooth, at least Gomez and Moreno.

Ultimately, I'm happy with this trade too because I think it will make RSL a stronger draw and a stronger team which is good for the league. And I see faster development of Freddy as key to the MNT so hopefully this new situation can help that trade as well.
-K

 
At 12 December, 2006 13:39, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, the trade is definatly a wait and see situation. That being said right now it's tough to not feel a bit screwed over. It's good to see Nick go, but loosing Freddy to another MLS side will hurt DCU in it's marketing and turnstyle. His play on the field this past season was decent, but mostly sparatic. It'll be interesting to see how the rest of the offseason goes. Nowak has stated that they are not looking to make use of the DP, so that complicates things even more.

 
At 12 December, 2006 14:59, Anonymous Joanna said...

Oh, it's for the transfer fee. A whole lot of stuff makes a whole lot more sense now. Thank you, Dave. :-)

 
At 12 December, 2006 16:07, Anonymous BigKris said...

D, I think your evaluation of "did DC get enough" maybe understates the importance of Rimando's and Adu's salaries on the equation. Nick and Freddy are both very good (starting quality) players, but in Nick's case he was being paid like one of the top keepers in MLS to be a backup and in Freddy's case he's being paid like a superstar to be a supporting cast member.

This is especially true in an off-season where we re-signed the reigning league MVP and will have to make substantial new deals for the reigning league 'keeper of the year and defensive player of the year; potentially throw money at Carroll to keep him, perhaps bring back Donnett at a slightly lower salary, perhaps sign a DP, and do something about our striker and wing play. Whew! That's a lot of pressure on the salary cap!

I think if you're going to ask "did we get enough" you also need to ask, "in light of the salaries these guys commanded vis-a-vis their roles on the team, how much value did we really give up?".

 
At 12 December, 2006 16:58, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

D,

Right. I merely mentioned the DP slot as a way of giving context to the old meaning of the allocation (marquee player) and the new meaning (transfer fund money).

 

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