06 December 2007

Uninformed Speculation: How to make Veron fit.

Yesterday's post on the salary cap implications of adding Veron to the roster inspired some great comments, and Skippy summarized the reaction like this: "Wow. I think you turned everyone sour on Veron with a single post." That was not my intent, but I can see why it happened. Things look really tight, especially if we're not just trying to add Veron, but also give Gomez a raise to keep him, and to add another player (either defensive depth or a good forward option - I think we get one or the other, not both.) So how will it happen?

First, let me be clear: I have no inside information of any sort, but I think we can take a reasoned approach and come up with an approximation. Veron is not coming to DC without the Designated Player rule, but I doubt he gets anything close to $10M per year. In fact, over $5M per year would be somewhat stunning. A two year deal (or, more likely, one year plus one option year) for $3M-$4M base salary would seem reasonable, with incentives and bonuses that could reach $5M. That still means we get a $400,000 cap hit, but even that is manageable.

Let's start with Vanney. My guess is United renegotiates his contract to somewhere in the 80K-130K range, and then trades him. No one is likely to want Vanney with his existing salary (in fact, United didn't take him without Colorado picking up much of the tab (Erpen's salary, which was around $120K if I recall correctly, was all United was on the hook for.) Still, that's only a savings of about $150K. United does have some allocation room left even after the Fred and Emilio signings, so that may get us another $50K. To me, that means you can add Veron just with the Vanney renegotiation. But what about other players?

To me, there are three decent options: Trade Vanney at the new contract price for allocation money, or rework Jaime Moreno's deal (almost $300K is a lot for his current production, even factoring in a "soul of the team" premium), or consider trading... Bryan Namoff. At nearly $90K, he's reasonably priced but still taking up a chunk of salary. I can see other teams being interested in him, and being willing to give up allocation money or a decent third forward option for anything from 50-120K. I don't like the idea, since we're not exactly deep at right bank, but it is something that I think should be in people's minds. Another option is to trade Boswell, who is very cheap against the cap, could command a decent return in either allocation money or personnel. The problem with trading Boswell is that he is a cap value right now, and his trade value is reduced since he was on the bench. It might make more sense to deal Boswell midseason if that's the way you want to go (and, really, I don't want to go that way, but I am horribly biased).

So I think there are ways of making this work, it's just going to be tight, especially if we're not just looking at Veron, but Veron plus one other starter. And it could be awkward.

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At 06 December, 2007 11:14, Anonymous bdr said...

My bad vibes are only secondarily $$$-based.

I've always thought Veron overrated, and he's 32 looking to cash one last paycheck.

That twanging I mentioned? Sounded like the hamstring of a washed-up never-was-all-that.

And after that, there's the $$$.

At 06 December, 2007 11:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need to come to grips with the fact that Moreno and Gomez are likely to leave. The team seems to be holding firm with their offers and leaving it up to how badly they want to play for United.

I think we're going to see a very different DCU next year.

At 06 December, 2007 16:02, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a little scary that all three "workable" options involve weakening the defense. Not exactly our strong suit!

Seems this goes back to hinging on the decisions made by Gomez & Moreno.

If they both want to stick around (and can agree on terms), then the Veron deal looks like a stretch that could easily hurt more than help.

If either one leaves, then we move on to a new era of DCU, and Veron makes more sense.

(Or the front office does some magic, pulls an ace from their sleeve, and it all works out nice.)

- rke

At 06 December, 2007 16:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pains me to say it but I think the team needs to think about the long-term prospects of the team more than Moreno... 300K is a lot to pay for a part-time player who slows down the game. Would hate to see a Diablo-like decline at the end. Think the team could go further with the money spent on defenders... especially if Veron comes on...

At 06 December, 2007 22:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an excerpt from a Dec 2006 article by Goff:

"...In the Adu deal, United received half of Real Salt Lake's allocation money for missing the playoffs this year and a portion of an allocation left over from the previous year. It adds up to $275,000.

United had also banked $200,000 of allocation money from trades with Los Angeles and New York earlier this year, Payne said."

Not sure if these have been (or should be) factored in the analysis, but it may be the answer to how this works without tinkering with the core of the team.

At 07 December, 2007 08:19, Anonymous Mickey said...

Anon nailed it with the research on the allocations... I suspect DC United has a boat load of allocation money sitting around.

And, at the expense of sounding cynical, I suspect the league will "work" with DC United to accomodate any accounting "difficulties" if DC United were in a five or six figure range of keeping such a stellar roster under the salary cap. After all, the grandfahtering of Landon, Eddie and Carlos by the Board of Governors most likely resulted in the rest of the league looking for something in return.

In short, I absolutely appreciate this analysis and applaud teams like New England (thrifty team), Houston (thrifty team), DC (thrifty team and long-term view when making trades) and NY (long-term view when picking-up the second DP slot) for trying to work within the strictures of the salary rules but - as Goff laments time and time again - MLS makes-up the rules as they go along. I think they will work with DC United if the front office can get Veron, Gomez and Moreno within six figures of the salary cap.

At 07 December, 2007 09:25, Anonymous Goose said...

Can we discuss how he's going to fit in the field?

At 07 December, 2007 10:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note from Goff today:

"I'm told negotiations between DCU and Christian Gomez are not going well, dimming the prospect of him returning next season. Meantime, Jaime Moreno seems likely to return."

Nothing definitive, of course, but thought it worth quoting within this discussion.

> Can we discuss how he's going to fit in the field?

Yes please! I'm all ears...

- rke


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