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Nagamura Traded to Sporting Kansas City

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 09: Nagamura: Obrigado! (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 09: Nagamura: Obrigado! (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Chivas USA continue their offseason wheeling and dealing today. They have traded midfielder Paulo Nagamura to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for a first-round Supplemental Draft pick, as reported on the MLS website. The Supplemental Draft is the draft following the SuperDraft, so this 1st round pick is essentially a third-round pick. It is also one of the picks Chivas traded to Sporting last week for Ryan Smith. In essence, Chivas traded Nagamura and a third-round supplemental pick for Smith, and we shall see who got the better side of that in coming seasons. Frankly, it's a toss up at this point. All things considered, it looks clear Chivas wanted to get rid of Nagamura, but there's a chance they could get a good player with the pick they got back.

Meanwhile, SKC traded veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud to the Montreal Impact yesterday, so Nagamura will provide a veteran presence to them. Both players struggled mightily with injuries in 2011, and to some extent, Sporting are taking a flyer on Nagamura. When healthy, he is a good two-way midfielder, but the injury concern is signficant. As I wrote last week in the season review on Nagamura, he only made 11 appearances in 2011, due to injury.

This news was also expected because of Nagamura's high salary. He had a base salary of $225,000 in 2011. For a frugal franchise like Chivas, that is a significant chunk of the team's payroll, and if he is sidelined for most of the season with injuries, it doesn't really work. While I may be critical of many of the club's decisions considering money and personnel, I think this isn't a bad move. He is expensive, and if he can't play, it's tying up too much of the wage bill.


That said, Nagamura was a talented player, and when healthy, he could bring an offensive spark and a defensive grit that few players could. He was widely admired by Chivas' fans, and if he succeeds at SKC, there will surely be teeth-gnashing around these parts. Still, we wish Nagamura the best of luck moving forward.