Thursday, November 19, 2009

Who to Protect?

Yesterday we learned the rules for this year's expansion draft, where the Philadelphia Union will select 10 players from the 15 current MLS teams to help to begin their process for building their roster. The Wizards are allowed to protect 11 players and 3 of the team's 4 international players will have to be protected. So let's start breaking down the roster and try to figure out who will be protected.

First, the team's two Generation Adidas players, Roger Espinoza and Chance Myers will be protected automatically. Barring a shocking graduation for either Espinoza or Myers both will not need to be among the 11 protected players.

So let's start looking at the rest of the roster. Starting with the internationals, the Wizards have to protect 3 of Zoltan Hercegfalvi, Santiago Hirsig, Claudio Lopez, and Kevin Souter. To me the choice of which 3 is fairly easy, Hercegfalvi, Hirsig, and Lopez are the 3. Souter's lack of playing time this year makes him the easy one to leave out.

So 8 of the remaining 20 players will be protected. Jimmy Conrad seems certain to be protected, as does his central defense partner, Matt Besler. Besler appears to have jumped ahead of Aaron Hohlbein for the starting spot in the center of defense with Conrad. Michael Harrington, Davy Arnaud, and Jack Jewsbury also seem certain to be protected. That puts us up to 8 protected players.

Unlike last year, when Seattle had already signed Kasey Keller, Philadephia has no players at all. Without that keeper, Kevin Hartman has to be considered a favorite to be protected. While he's on the back side of his career, he's been too important to the Wizards to be left off the protected list. I think the Wizards other rookie, Graham Zusi played himself onto the protected list late in the season. His youth and salary would make him a prime candidate for selectionn, so I would protect Zusi.

That leaves 1 spot left, and there are two candidates for that spot, forwards Josh Wolff and Kei Kamara. While Wolff is coming off a career year, he is starting to get a little older, he'll be 33 by the time the 2010 season starts, not to mention that he's the teams third highest player. Kamara is younger, but is out of contract and is likely to want a salary around Wolff's I would guess. For me I'd protect Kamara over Wolff, his age and salary makes Wolff less appealing to Philadelphia.

So here are my 11 protected players, the remaining exposed players, and those exempt from being draft.
Protected Exposed
Davy Arnaud Adam Cristman
Roger Espinoza
Matt Besler Herculez Gomez
Chance Myers
Jimmy Conrad Aaron Hohlbein

Michael Harrington Michael Kraus

Kevin Hartman Eric Kronberg

Zoltan Hercegfalvi Jonathan Leathers

Santiago Hirsig Matt Marquess

Jack Jewsbury Rauwshan McKenzie

Kei Kamara Kurt Morsink

Claudio Lopez Boris Pardo

Graham Zusi Kevin Souter

Lance Watson

Josh Wolff

So who's likely to be selected? I think the most likely from this list is Herculez Gomez. Gomez's salary is fairly low for his experience ($54,408) and seemed to be on the outs with Peter Vermes after he took over as coach. If Gomez is exposed I think he's definitely a favorite to be selected, if anyone is taken from KC.


Bryan said...

I don't understand why Hirsig is protected, he is back home.

Unknown said...

I would protect both Wolff and Kamara - and leave Zusi exposed. While I do enjoy his play...I believe that Wolff will provide a more immediate impact next year.

Mike said...

For Hirsig, it's a debate between protecting him or Souter. You have to protect one or the other, and with Souter's lack of playing time even before his injury (or afterward, he coulda been taken off IR with plenty of time left in the season, but they left him on). It's more a case of I can't see them protecting Souter.

As for Wolff vs Zusi, it's not that I think Zusi will contribute more, it's all the other factors going against Wolff that will keep him from being taken. Wolff will be 33 and his salary is $200K, those are two big factors that I think scare off Philly.

MOUFWASH said...

think you broke it down pretty well, all logical and I cant really even pick 1 thing I disagree with you about.

Zusi will be protected as he is young, cheap, and plays at our weakest posistion.

Unknown said...

I would hate to loose Watson, I think he has the highest work rate on the team which makes up for any lack of skill. Gomez seems like he should be able to contribute more... I like his speed, he just needs to make better runs and put away the chances he has.