13 December 2006

Wary

The Washington Post covers the Freddy Adu trade fall-out with a big piece on the front of your sports section this morning. The headline "It's a win-win for Adu and United" is shockingly optimistic. In my opinion, Adu does come out of this deal as the clear winner, but I'm not sure that either United or RSL (carefully left out of that headline) did the right thing. Again, while I have no problem with trading either Adu and/or Rimando, both of whom had value, I feel like we don't know that we'll ultimately got as good as deal as we could have gotten for either, let alone both as a package. Of particular note in the Post story is a sidebar graphic on United's previous use of allocations, a good idea (seen here yesterday) made better by expanding it back from 2004 to 2002. And when you do that, United's track record looks even worse. As much as it pains me to acknowledge that the RSL Front Office got anything right, this seems accurate:

Real Salt Lake chief executive Dean Howes was not concerned about whom United would acquire with the allocation, saying: "Allocations don't score goals and don't keep the ball out of the net. . . . We'd rather get a proven player and let the other teams spend the money to take chances on players who may or may not be successful in this league."

I think there's a lot of truth in that. United has had success with some allocation moves, but also a lot of failure. We've bought cap room and the tools to do something with the cap room, but success in using it is not a foregone conclusion. If we had traded Rimando and Adu for known commodities within MLS the deal might not seem as valuable, and we would not have the same flexibility, but the deal would probably carry considerably less risk. Kevin Payne and DC United have gone for a big move that they think they can execute, but we've been hopeful about such things in the past.

And now, for old-times sake, your last "Freddy to Europe" transfer update: Manchester United is reportedly concerned about his temperament and will not offer him a deal anytime soon. Plus ├ža change...

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13 Comments:

At 13 December, 2006 09:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goff must've been reading bigsoccer :)

 
At 13 December, 2006 09:37, Anonymous Dan said...

Sure, United's track record looks spotty, but United knows how to set up the proper arrangement so they don't get hurt by a busted acquisition. One needs only to look at the recent signings of Filomeno and Donnet to see that the team always provides itself an exit plan if said acquisition doesn't pan out as hoped.

RSL might be saying the right things, but we have four stars, a Supporter's Shield, and the reigning MVP in our camp. DCU knows what it's doing, and it knows that the one-in-three chance of finding another Gomito is well worth the risk of losing a good but not great midfielder and good but expensive backup keeper.

 
At 13 December, 2006 10:04, Blogger D said...

Dan: It doesn't just look spotty, it is spotty. Not all-bad, but not all good. That being said, I don't disagree with you when you rate this as a decent deal. My point is, so far, is that it may not be as good a deal as you could have gotten. Yes, we needed to clear that space, and we've done that.

Now, do I think the DCU FO knows its strategy? Sure, I have no doubt. I just think they took a high risk strategy. To make an analogy, let's say you have two players that are almost identical to each other except for goal-scoring. Player A will score you five goals a year. Player B has a 50% chance of scoring you ten goals a year, and a 50% chance of being a complete washout with no goals. Absurd, sure, but the expected yield of these players is identical at five goals. That being said, I'd pick player A simply because we don't necessarily need a home-run, and I'd take dependability. Less Risk. DCU has, in essence, chosen to take Player B: Higher Risk, but potentially Higher Reward. And given the allocation track record, I'm not convinced that they can evaluate allocation risk correctly.

Now, you correctly say "Hey, they leave themselves an escape clause" That's true, they're pretty good about that. But the fact that they do that tells me that even they know it's a riskier move.

 
At 13 December, 2006 10:18, Blogger Kali said...

We're all wary.

At least you guys don't have Clint Mathis on your permanent record, right? :-)

 
At 13 December, 2006 10:19, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

Given RSL's lack of success with foreign players, Howes' comment hardly comes as a shock. However, many of the "proven MLS players" they have brought in have not done much better.

As for United's success with foreign acquisitions over the past five years, there should be a comparison with other teams' success rates to determine whether or not United are ahead or behind the curve? Because, for every, say, Ronnie O'Brien, there's a Toni Nhlekho that no one wants to talk about. I'm pretty sure Dario Fabbro asked me if I wanted fries the other day.

 
At 13 December, 2006 10:20, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

Chino Alegria has a "permanent record" of Clint Mathis somewhere on his back, Kali..

 
At 13 December, 2006 10:27, Anonymous Dan said...

Side note, I was just thinking of the ridiculous amount of shots Freddy rung off the goal frame this season. If those had gone in, we'd all be reading Goff's offseason articles about how Adu and Nowak worked together to create a new, multi-positional, defense-playing Adu that is looking forward to another great year in Black and Red.

That's not depressingly said with tissues and Bon Bons in hand, just more in the stoner "waaaw, y'know?" kind of way.

 
At 13 December, 2006 11:06, Blogger Oscar M. said...

D: What MLS team DOESN'T have a spotty allocation history? You're right that this is a risky move by the FO, but why are you so nervous about it - because we don't know who it is we might be bringing in?

Here's how I break down the trade:

Rimando for Nolly - good move, we needed a cheap backup for Perkins and now we have one.

Adu's departure frees up a starting spot for Donnet, if he stick around.

On top of that - we have a ton of cap room and an Allocation. We also won't be in the middle of the Freddy-to-Europe? circus all season, which could be a huge distraction during the MLS season and other cup competitions.

I'm more concerned that we haven't heard any movement on keeping Brian Carrol with United. Although, if he wants to make a go of it in Europe, I hope he gets the chance.

 
At 13 December, 2006 11:15, Blogger D said...

Oscar: You're right, all teams have a spotty allocation history. And I just feel like perhaps a lower risk move could have been justified, and could have been worked (perhaps not with RSL, but another team or teams) with the same players leaving DCU. Personally, and it is a personal opinion, I'd rather DC had gone with a lower risk move that perhaps had less upside but a more concrete baseline. But I don't know who they're looking at in South America.

As for the rest of your trade breakdown, it's pretty good. And I agree with you 100% on Carroll.

 
At 13 December, 2006 12:09, Blogger Oscar M. said...

Grant Wahl's take: he thinks United gets the better end of the deal:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/grant_wahl/12/12/adu.rsl/index.html

 
At 13 December, 2006 17:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the sure 5 goals vs. 50% chance of 10 goals and 50% chance of zero goals -- it is BY FAR better to go with the chance of a great player. If the person turns out to be a bust, you can get rid of them. Having a bunch of mediocre scorers doesn't help. You want a couple great scorers.

 
At 13 December, 2006 20:24, Anonymous Tom said...

One point I think is being overlooked in this trade is that Freddy was going to be gone for a good part of the summer no matter what his transfer situation ends up being. He is going to be gone for the U-20 World Cup in Canada in June, and who knows if he gets a look with the full MNT in either the Copa America or Confederations Cup. At this point Olsen, Eskandarian, Boswell and Perkins are all long shots to make the teams, so the trade of the one player you know was going to be gone does give the team a little more stability this summer. United may still lose a player or two, but it still minimizes the situation somewhat. And even if Freddy has a great season, he is probably gone after one more MLS campaign, so Kevin Payne took a page out of old baseball GM Branch Rickey's book: better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. I think there is a chance for everyone to be a winner in this deal.

 
At 26 April, 2007 17:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god freddy is gone! he is a little whiner and DC will be better w/o him

 

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