12 December 2007

Beyond Good and Evil: Out- Boswell, In- Wells + draft pick

It's going to take some time for me to really evaluate the now completed Bobby Boswell for Zach Wells deal. The Goffather updated his original scoop with the telling detail that Bobby requested the trade. Given the situation, Bobby wanting out, Troy wanting to go abroad, United seems to have neatly handled a way to accommodate both players' wishes. Our think back line is even thinner, but so it goes. I think this deal is impossible to evaluate in terms of "good" or "bad." It depends on your tolerance of the unknown. We know less about United then we did, and for some of you that may be a good thing. It is a move with tremendous potential, but it is a potential equally for greatness as disappointment.

This is a risky move, if you define risk as uncertainty. Just as in picking your stocks, riskier investment may yield bigger rewards, but they may also fall flat. I think we know where Bobby's talent ceiling was, and that most of us thought we would perceive Bobby's 2008 season closer to his 2005 and 2006 seasons, as opposed to the 2007 let-down. And that would have been a good MLS defender, perhaps not great, but at least good.

As for Mr. Wells, I think he is something of an unknown commodity in terms of potential. He has shown promise, yes, but he has also shown weakness. Troy Perkins showed us what he was last year, and he was one notch down from the top tier of MLS Keepers. Zach Wells has yet to prove that he can be an average every day starter, and while he has the skills in terms of quickness and distribution, I'm not sure how well he will be in terms of tactical decision making (I say this even though this is the very trait that is praised in his Houston player bio... I just haven't seen it yet. Not consistently).

Anyways, Bobby Boswell gets filed on a long list of players that I am sad to see leave, even if I can understand the reasoning. Perhaps somewhere he can get together with Mike Petke and Alecko Eskandarian and remember the good times. And perhaps one day DevonMcTavish.Com will feature a fake video about Bobby the intern being bossed around.

To those in Houston, you are getting a decent MLS Center Back, with the potential to occasionally be a very good center back at the MLS level. He is not the next Ryan Nelsen, but he will do his job well for you.

And to Zach Wells, we bid you welcome. You are now the #2 keeper, and apparently you're a candidate for a very fast promotion. We welcome you as well, and hope you enjoy your time hear in DC. D.C. United's list of keepers, including Garlick, Presthus, Warren, Rimando, and Perkins features many decent keepers, but few that I would call exceptional. May you be the first, but know that if you are just as good as the last two in your position, that will be enough for now.

UPDATE: Sorry, comments should have been turned on earlier. They are now.

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At 12 December, 2007 17:08, Blogger timmyc said...

I feel like I did last year around this time when Freddy Adu was shipped out. We have to be patient and look at this as one step in the overall picture of improving DCU for 2008. I think DCU positioned themselves well for this past season, and hopefully will do so again for next season. Right now DCU has lost an average MLS center back (BozBobwell) and is about to lose an above-average MLS Goalkeeper (Perkins). DCU got a goalkeeper without much of a track record and a draft pick in return, plus some cap space and allocation money. We'll see from here what the Payne, Soehn and co. turn it into ...

At 12 December, 2007 19:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so Boz is gone, BC is gone, Perkins is almost gone, Gomez & Moreno still up in the air...

I get it. 2008 will be a different team. Some old friendly faces, but a fresh start in a lot of ways.

I'm done with my nostalgia. I'll miss those guys, but I'm ready to look ahead.

Bring on Veron!

And I'm ready for some new names...

- rke

At 13 December, 2007 01:04, Anonymous Skippy said...

I'll be sad to see BC, Boswell and Perkins leave.

I'll also admit that I have given up, trying to predict what is going to happen next. I simply have no clue. Which rules out the good/bad for me simply because I don't know what United is going for.

Is this going to be the rebuilding year that seemed possible at the beginning of last year? Or are is DC making room for the big names they want to bring in/keep? How does this affect the salary cap situation, I think you said they gain a bit of room, but how much? Are there more unexpected (maybe you folks in the know saw this coming; this is a bolt from the blue for me) departures coming?

At 13 December, 2007 08:49, Anonymous Jeremy said...

timmyc: Why were you sad to see Freddy go. That move was addition by subtraction. Freddy was a head case who was never going to make it at this level, primarily because he just didn't respect the league. Maybe he'll make something of himself in Portugal, maybe not, I frakly couldn't care less.

I definitely am sad to see Perkins go, but I feel that he has earned a shot on a bigger stage. I hope that the challenge helps him to develop his skills. If he can't make it there, I would gratefully welcome him back next year.

I used to love BC and Boz, but after last year, I have a bad taste in my mouth. It was time to move on with both of them. Boz made a bad decision not to accept the raise that United offered, since he will get no international attention after last year's performance.

Here's hoping this year's signing work out as well as last year's.

BTW: How about Payne and Soehn for president next year?

At 13 December, 2007 09:27, Anonymous jeffrey said...

The situation sucks, but I feel like we at least got market value for Boswell in this trade. DCU still have some work to do to break even in this whole goalkeeper/defender shuffle - basically, if they sign a defender slightly better than Boswell for about $70,000, then I will consider that breaking even (Perkins + Boswell = about $120,000, Zach Wells costs about $50,000, and I rate Perkins above Wells). That'll be difficult to do. My guess is that we end up signing a defender slightly better than Boswell (and Vanney) for significantly more money. So, one's assessment of where we end up in this whole shuffle will depend on how much value one places on that upgrade in quality.

A weird thought: around this time last year, there were four DCU players getting looks from the national team: Carroll, Boswell, Perkins, and Gros (I think that was our delegation to the January camp last year, though Olsen might have also been invited). Now they're all gone.

At 13 December, 2007 09:31, Blogger timmyc said...

I didn't say that I was sad to see Freddy go - my point was that was the first domino of last season. At the time it happened, it was not clear what the team would do to improve itself for this season. It made a lot more sense as the moves piled up and it became clear that Payne and Soehn were putting together a squad that had a great chance to be successful.

And regardless of what you think about Freddy (I'm not his biggest fan but I'd like to see him do well), based on his performances thus far it has to be said that he's already on the way to making a name for himself ...

At 14 December, 2007 11:14, Anonymous Martek said...

Been out of contact recently and so have yet to weigh in on the whole Boswell/Wells thing. Here in Houston, I really like the deal, but it’s clearly part of a much larger deal that is not completely finished on our side. Clearly, you do not go into the season with a 40-year-old keeper (even if he is uber-Canuck Pat Onstad) being your only keeper. So, clearly, more moves are in the offing here.

Both players have big upsides. For Wells, his positioning is good and he’s very athletic and quick. On the downside, he is a bit of a butterfingers at times. Witness the Morelia goal in SuperLiga (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAOYATjyQQ). Onstad would have gathered that in. Not so Wells. Now some of that is a maturing process and Wells did make some nice saves in that same game. I just want to say that after seeing all of Wells’ games this year, I was always waiting for the one or two bad things to happen that would spoil an otherwise impressive outing from the kid.

As for Boswell, I am very high on this guy. He’s 24, one season removed from being 2000 MLS Defender of the Year. He clearly has tremendous upside. This looks like another in a long line of spot on moves from Dominic Kinnear and the Brain Trust a la Orange. Kelly Gray for Nate Jaqua; Alejandro Moreno for Joseph Ngwenya; a bucket of spit for Richard Mulrooney; and now Wells for Boswell. This deal looks more in the Moreno/Ngwenya mode, meaning a trade that helps both teams. But if your standard of a trade is “Are you better off now in some way than you were before?” I’d have to say that, for Dynamo the answer is yes.


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