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Third DP for Seattle difficult, but possible

Post by Don Ruiz / The News Tribune on July 31, 2010 at 9:37 am with 7 Comments »
July 31, 2010 7:38 am

General manager Adrian Hanauer said tonight that it would be difficult for the Sounders to sign a third designated player, joining Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez, and replacing Freddie Ljungberg, who was traded to Chicago on Friday.)

“We would have to do some things to be able to fit a third DP in,” Hanauer said. “We don’t have the cap space right now, and we don’t have the roster space right now. … We don’t want to challenge our ability of holding on to our top young players by being too top-heavy. But if we can and we find a good opportunity we’re certainly not going to be scared off by the prospect.”

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  1. lance5446 says:

    How exactly do they NOT have the cap and roster space after trading Freddie? I thought that was the whole point! Hanauer is getting more and more difficult to understand. Thursday they announce Fernandez as the THIRD DP and that they just need his ITC and to clear a roster spot (easy, IR Vagenas) and that Freddie’s situation had NO effect on that. Here’s his quote…..

    (Does Ljungberg’s status affect getting him on the roster or are those two situations independent from each other?) “Totally independent. We will have to make some roster moves to accommodate Alvaro, but we don’t have to do that until he goes on the roster active to play. We have some different, creative ways we can get that sorted.”

    Now he’s essentially saying that they don’t have cap and roster space and trading Freddie was needed to bring Fernandez in? Something’s just not adding up here.

    Even though Hanauer has become the master of saying a whole lot without actually saying anything at all if you go back through his “interviews” and quotes regarding this whole Freddie situation you’ll notice that something’s just a little off and not quite right.

    And now I’m beginning to think there was a LOT more to this story than has been reported. Yes it was abrupt and fishy when Freddie went out with an ankle injury and was pulled from the line-up. But ok, these things happen. Then it was revealed he wasn’t training with the team either. People caught on that something was going on. So then it was reported that he was being allowed to look for a new team because, even though he wanted to stay here very very much, the FO just didn’t want to give him a new contract just yet. Ok, still believable. After all, the FO said they weren’t renewing anybody’s contracts yet because of the way the season has gone (understandable) and that Freddie just wanted some security for his future, so they’d allowed him to look around. Supposedly a win win situation for both. Freddie gets a new club (Europe) and we get transfer money and his salary/slot off the books. Seems mutual. And even seems believable on it’s face.

    But here’s the thing…. We traded Freddie and got NOTHING. Sure, a conditional draft pick. But no transfer fee, no allocation money, and apparently no cap relief either. So replacing him with a third DP isn’t an option now apparently. And Freddie himself is still in the SAME exact position he was in while he was still here. No extension and out of contract in 3 months with no security.

    So what’s the deal? Either something MAJOR happened with Freddie and they aren’t admitting to it and/or trying to cover it up/put a positive PR spin on it. OR, this FO showed a total lack of class in just trying to usher Freddie out the door because he didn’t “fit in” with the team when they weren’t doing all that great this year.

    A third option that is a bit more worrying for the future is that maybe this FO is just totally inept when it comes to trades, transfers, and general player movement. Chicago at least got allocation money from Philly for Justin Mapp. That’s a bit more than a draft pick. And Dallas got TWO draft picks for Anthony Wallace. I’d say Freddie is still a bit better of a footballer than those two. Not to mention not bringing in ANYONE new to start the 2010 campaign and leaving Seba unprotected in the expansion draft.

  2. I think I’m starting to get a picture of what happened. Lots of people are saying that we nearly had a deal with NYRB for JPA. It fell through so we were left without a logical trade partner and no European teams willing to buy him since he’s out of contract soon.

    But at this point Seattle just needs to move him. It seems clear Sigi and were no longer on good terms so they found a team willing to give us SOMETHING and get his contract off our books.

    Anyway, we have to keep in mind that the 3rd DP still has a cap hit, and a significant one at that. So I don’t think Adrian is playing coy when he says it’s tight. Based on what little we know of our salaries it has to be pretty close and we can’t just cut the senior guys who have guaranteed contracts (Vagenas) to make cap space.

    As a result we have a situation where another move would mean letting go a young guy. Anyway, I think they’re just being careful not to promise what they’re not sure they can do. Roth (aka Mr. Money) has said definitively that they will maximize the rules on pay to their advantage. So I suspect if the opportunity presents itself for perhaps a natural CAM… they’d make it happen.

  3. lance5446 says:

    @Derek – It would have been great to get JPA. Then Montero could have moved to CAM (I think he’d be great at that position).

    But just to move Freddie anywhere if that deal did indeed fall through? It doesn’t make any sense based on comments from the club. And that’s what I was getting at. Something’s not right. What you’re saying makes sense but Hanauer’s comments all contradict that.

    Something MAJOR and irreparable must have happened between Freddie and the club which they’re not revealing. Otherwise why not just keep him for the remainder of the year and let him play with Nkufo and Fernandez? I think we’d have seen more the Freddie of old playing with those two rather than the Freddie of late. Instead they ship him off for apparently nothing immediate in return. No player, no transfer fee, no allocation money, and no cap relief. Just removing him and his salary from the club.

    And if nothing did happen between Freddie and the club except that Sigi and he weren’t on good terms, then this deal is just plain stupid. Further, it shows a total lack of class and is disrespectful to Freddie. They’re essentially blaming Freddie for the clubs woes this season and unceremoniously sending off one of the players who helped make last year such a success. So which is it?

    Regarding a third DP, Hanauer flat out said on Thursday that Fernandez was gonna be our third DP, that they’d be paying the $250k fee, and that Freddie’s situation had no bearing on that at all. Now that he’s been traded his salary/cap hit should come off the books right? And it should now be available to target a third DP (CAM). So what’s really changed by trading Freddie?

  4. Oh I agree Adrian is in full spin mode regardless of what happened. Some of it’s understandable given professional expectations. No player wants to come to a team whose FO badmouths them on the way out the door. Some of it is probably covering for others who are still with us.

    The part I think you might be missing is that unloading Freddie wasn’t necessary to make the roster move, but it was clearly preferable since we don’t want to be forced to dump a player to make room for Fernandez when we’re looking to unload Freddie anyway. I think they were trying to tell people that a failed deal wouldn’t stop us from putting Fernandez on the roster… but clearly it’d make things easier.

  5. EverydayFan says:

    Great discussion, gents….
    I would like to see Hanauer tell us which of the 3rd DP scenarios is true, and if need be, why his story has changed.
    Bit not until after we beat San Jose.
    That being said, Vagenas with a guaranteed contract making it difficult for us yo improve our roster is very, very painful to contemplate (speaking as a season ticket holder)

  6. joepublic says:

    I am no fan of Sigi but this is one situation that he’s gotten exactly right.

    Halfway through the season the team was stuck in a bad rut and getting nothing — nothing — from its supposed star player. In fact, Ljungberg was dragging everybody else down with him. He brought out the worst in Montero, who really is the team’s best player. And keeping Ljungberg in the lineup was depriving talented youngsters with a chance to grow. His behavior on the field was setting all the wrong examples. He was a cancer. He had to go. And kudos to Sigi for figuring that out and being willing to make the big decision.

    Derek, you are right, it would have been bad business for the Sounders to trash Freddie in public.

    I don’t know enough about all the salary and DP rules to be able to apply the BS detector to Adrian’s comments. I don’t know that the team needs another DP, and with present personnel, I wouldn’t be concentrating on acquiring a CAM. I agree with Lance that Montero is very good in that role. Fernandez will do well there too, I think.

    I’d rather see them invest in developing a good young central defender or an upgrade at right back.

  7. joepublic says:

    Ack, no idea why I’m turning my entire post into itals. I guess left arrow slash i right arrow doesn’t work anymore.


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