With the 2014 MLS SuperDraft just over a week away and with no pick in the first round for Chivas USA, it is worth considering the chances of the team trading up in the draft. In all likelihood, the Goats will stand pat come January 16, and wait for the second round to make their first selection. But what would it take to get that top pick? And perhaps more important, would it be worthwhile?
I put on the "fake Chivas USA GM hat" for this discussion, while Adam Taylor of SB Nation D.C. United blog Black and Red United did the same for his team. You'll find our negotiations below, and you can vote on whether or not we should make the proposed deal at the bottom.
The Goat Parade: Let me get the ball rolling...there are only two players who are untouchable on Chivas USA right now, Dan Kennedy and Erick Torres. Anybody else you might be interested in?
Black and Red United: You're sure Cubo Torres is untouchable? That's too bad - mostly I was interested in his dance moves, anyway I suppose.
I know he really has yet to don the Red and White, but let's talk Mauro Rosales. He had quite a few crosses converted into goals by Eddie Johnson up in Seattle, and I'm a bit curious if we can get that chemistry to transfer in full over to RFK Stadium. That said, I'm not totally comfortable swapping the #1 pick for a slowing 32-year-old who's played the last three years on brutal turf. What could you package with Rosales to send our way?
TGP: Hmm...well we just got Rosales, so we'd like to see him play for Chivas before pushing him right out the door. It seems to me that D.C. could use even more of that wonderful Allocation Money. I realize you got a lot this offseason, but what's a better way to pay down all those deals than to get some Allocation. How about $150,000?
B&RU: Allocation money might be enough if it were paired with, say, an earlyish first round pick to replace the one we'd be giving up. If only you hadn't already given your pick to Philly for Gabriel Farfan. That said, $150,000 in Monopoly money by itself won't come close to getting me to pass on the right to select a Patrick Mullins or Steve Birnbaum or Christian Dean. The maximum allocation that can change hands in a single transaction is closer to $300,000 - which is what Seattle are rumored to have gotten for Eddie Johnson. (This offseason really is all about the GAM.)
Even if the top of the draft class is really strong this year, the perception is that it gets pretty thin thereafter. Do you guys still have that second round pick we sent your way for Casey Townsend (in what then looked like a steal for us... oops)? It's basically a late first-rounder if you squint at it - How about that pick, a truckload of funny money and - throwing a dart at the list of defenders I'd take from you - Marky Delgado (Hey! Convenient - we need a left back at RFK!)
TGP: I think we're getting closer, but parting with $150,000-$300,000 of Allocation Money (we'll have to talk about that detail), our first SuperDraft pick AND a player seems like a pretty high price. We like Delgado an awful lot around here, and his first full season in MLS was quite good. It would be hard to part with him, and we would need to sell the fanbase that the player we're getting in return through #1 overall is worth it.
I can part with more Allocation and the #20 pick (which was yours, once upon a time), or less Allocation and Delgado, but I can't do all three. The owner would fire me immediately, and you know how job security is for folks in my position around these parts...
B&RU: That's the trick, isn't it? I think any of the top 3 prospects is likely to make an impact, even in the first year (at least in the case of Birnbaum) and they'll all be around for a long time. That's got to carry a high price, especially with the impacts of Andrew Farrell, Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers just last year. The D.C. fanbase values this pick quite highly (I think some of them have called it "the precious" somewhat awkwardly), so it's going to take a lot to pry it from us. That said, the ownership has been pretty forgiving on the player personnel side, so I could probably trade it away for less than it's worth and still show up to fictional work at RFK tomorrow. Then again, the B&RU readers would skewer me but good.
There's a part of me that really wants to pull the trigger on this: you get the #1 pick and we get the #20 pick, $150k in Allocation and Delgado. Plus you pick up lunch for us at a taco truck next time we come out to LA. But then I look at Mullins' goalscoring record or Birnbaum's also surprisingly strong goalscoring record (plus his organizing presence in the back... swoon) or Dean's freakish traits and I think that I'll be washing rotten tomato out of my hair for weeks if I trade the pick away. I'm honestly torn.
What do you think? Vote in the poll below, and leave a comment explaining your choice!