Over the past month 11 MLS players switched teams through trades (we'll ignore the waived players for now because almost zero of those would make a difference this year). The players dealt fill nearly every role on a squad, and a few would be probable starters if the Seattle Sounders had acquired them. Most are being dealt on not-quite-pure soccer grounds and so their values are fairly low. For a league with a draft that is in the middle of success/fail gambles in American sports (above MLB, NHL | below NFL, NBA) these picks seem to have significant value.
While Adrian Hanauer and Co. were not involved in any of these discussions to our knowledge, there a couple that would make sense. This is particularly true when you take into account the trade mechanism that the LA Galaxy unleashed last year that converted a DP into a non-DP through salary payment when they sent Juan Pablo Angel to Chivas USA. It is possible that this was done when FC Dallas acquired Julian de Guzman, as they already have Fabian Castillo, David Ferreira and maybe/maybe not Brek Shea (official DP list says no, signing announcement says yes).
There are also some decent lower salary players that have moved recently that would be of use as well. While these players are more likely rotationals rather than starters, they still offer their experience in MLS, something a new transfer does not have.
Seattle is not required to only strengthen the roster through an international transfer. While those signings are generally more exciting, they are a gamble that Chris Henderson once told Sounder at Heart is a "50/50" chance of adapting to MLS. Players already in the league already adapted.
Here's the list of trades in that past month
|Dane Richards||RW, F||182k||Le Toux|
|Sebastien Le Toux||WF, RW||169k||Richards|
|Bill Gaudette||K||63k||2014 4th rd|
|Andrew Wiedeman||RM, F||123k||de Guzman|
|Julian de Guzman||CM, CDM||1910k||Wiedeman|
|Justin Braun||TF||105k||2014 Conditional|
|Bobby Burling||CB||?||International Slot|
|Kosuke Kimura||RB||71k||International Slot|
|Long Tan||LM, F||44k||2015 Supplemental|
|Kwame Watson-Siriboe||CB||48k||2014 4th rd|
|Eric Hassli||TF||550k||2014 1st rd, Int Slot|
While Seattle was correct to not get into the straight swap of Richards for Le Toux (ok, there was allocation money too), the rest of those deals are ones that would involve the removal of a key component to acquire a decent player. Still the Sounders sat these out. While they have certainly felt around for deals, they are yet to make one during this midseason, despite probably seven of those players being able to help where the current roster needs help.
The trade deadline is much later than the transfer deadline (this has to do with the fact that all players are registered to FIFA as playing for MLS rather than their teams). Chances are strong that if nothing happens in the window Seattle tries to deal within the league.
That's when things are likely to get interesting. Will there be movement after the window closes? Or is now the right time to use international slots and distant draft picks to improve the team now? There are even two players that could be on the move that would make the Sounders better, much better for the rest of 2012.
Brek Shea and Schellas Hyndman are in conflict. Shea's value is dropping down from his MVP caliber 2011 as he shuffles between left wing and forward (in year's past he's played LW, LM, LB, CB, CM, RM and F). It is highly unlikely he could be traded, as he's the symbol of the team. But considering the value that de Guzman, Hassli and Braun had in their deals how much would FC Dallas be able to get for a player with a high price tag, poor form and a clear desire to go to Europe quite soon?
The other target of opportunity for the Sounders would be native son George John. Though just now returning from concussion symptoms the possible USMNT/Greek national is still a quality centerback sitting on a very cheap contract. When de Guzman was dealt the initial rumors were that Toronto would acquire the UW product. His value is hurt by the concussion history and a very strong likelihood that he's jumping the pond when his tiny contract is up at the end of the year.
|Brek Shea||LW, F, LB||354k|
Both of those players could be mere rentals for six months. Or after coming to the Sounders they could decide to stay. It's a gamble, but probably one that should be explored. There are certainly other players in MLS that will move. Hanauer and Co. should be involved in those talks as well. For some reason values this year are cheap. Maybe even low enough that they could add a major transfer and a potential All-Star at the same time.
If MLS' GMs and Technical Directors are going to act like fantasy GMs it's time to take advantage and improve the team.