Another day, another trade for Chivas USA, as the club announced Thursday they sent Jorge Villafaña and the second slot in the first phase of the Re-Entry draft to the Portland Timbers in exchange for defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste and the 17th pick in the first phase of the Re-Entry draft. Immediately following the announcement, Portland selected midfielder Steve Zakuani in the Re-Entry draft, while Chivas passed (that is a common move in the first phase).
Jean-Baptiste, 21, just finished his second season with the Timbers. A Generation Adidas player out of UConn, the center back was projected to be a project, and he spent time in LA in 2012 on loan with the LA Blues. Major injury problems in the center of defense in 2013 pressed the youngster into action, and he played 26 league games, contributing a goal and assist. The emergence of Futty Danso and Pa Modou Kah as a strong pairing late in the season made AJB expendable, apparently.
While his status is uncertain, I have to think his Generation Adidas designation will be gone considering the number of minutes he played last season. Still, even if Chivas can't exempt his salary, it's not like they are hurting for salary cap room.
At this point, Jean-Baptiste will likely be the first reserve defender on the depth chart, or perhaps surpassing Bobby Burling to start alongside Carlos Bocanegra. He may have more learning to do, but this move certainly looks like a step in the right direction for Chivas' defense.
On the other hand, giving up Villafaña in the deal is bittersweet. Chivas' longest tenured player by a long shot, the man known as Sueño literally grew up in front of our eyes over the years. We'll have more coverage of his departure later today.
In the meantime, what do you think of the deal? Leave a comment below!