Friday, February 29, 2008

Non-believers in draft

So far, San Jose has shown us one thing in its fledgling return to MLS. The team has not yet played a game that matters but the 'Quakes are seemingly set on one issue - they do not care much about the MLS SuperDraft.

The 'Quakes displayed as much when they traded away the top pick in this year's draft for Nick Garcia, a solid but not spectacular defender. Earlier this week, they punctuated that apparent mindset with another trade as San Jose nabbed Ronnie O'Brien from Toronto for allocation funds and next year's number one choice.

Part of me feels these are good moves. You are trading away part of the future for some immediate help today, but that help could be the difference in playing decent soccer and recreating RSL and Chivas USA versions 2005. That was filthy soccer and San Jose wants no part of it.

However, when you trade draft picks you are really banking on finding players elsewhere. Luckily for the 'Quakes, soccer has talented players across the world, not just in the collegiate ranks. Still, while RSL and Chivas USA didn't get a whole lot out of their top picks in '05, one of those choices is now a star. Brad Guzan improved tremendously from early '05 to the end of that first year but it didn't matter as far as results go. The club would have been terrible without his services. Nik Besagno, the first pick in 05, is pretty much a bust at this point.

Toronto fared much better with their first pick as Maurice Edu won top rookie last year but again the results would have been terrible with our without him. Edu, though, is an emerging force and should he stick around could be a major presence in the league for years.

San Jose is taking a risk. Five years from now, Chance Myers may be a USMNT regular and a fixture on the Wizards midfield/defense and Nick Garcia might be out of soccer. Who knows? But it's a risk San Jose is willing to take, a risk with both the '08 and '09 top choices. Best-case scenario, Garcia immediately becomes an anchor on the backline and O'Brien reverts back to '05 form. That may not translate into an MLS Cup appearance but instant respectability is something worthy to strive for.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't Seattle have next year's #1 pick?

L.B. said...

yes, Seattle will have the top choice in 09. I meant San Jose's top choices, which next year could be a top five pick.

papa bear said...

toally agree that it's a great move. Especially considering they are trading aways choices that are pre-CBA renegotiation which very well could scupper the draft completely (not very likely, but still a possibility)
So why not trade picks that could very well be worthless when the cap is amped up in a year and a half and a draft, potentially, no longer exists.
Especially with the academy mandate, the draft is nearly meaningless as it is.