Galaxy waived Celestine Babayaro, Kelly Gray and Kyle Martino. They apparently had no takers for Gray or Martino. I would expect to see both of them land on their feet soon. Babayaro is a bit of a surprise because he was brought in much like Abel Xavier, a past-his-prime-but-can-still-play defender fresh off an EPL club. But unlike Xavier, Babayaro never got into an actual league match.
Ridge Mahoney's got the info here. I wasn't chasing Galaxy stuff yesterday because I'm trying to finish up other stories for my paying jobs but I did send some e-mails to Galaxy and league officials first thing in the morning. In fact, I woke up at about 4:50 a.m., gave myself a minute to collect myself, grabbed my laptop from under my bed and sent those e-mails. It's 6:16 and haven't gotten any confirmation of the cuts.
Anyway, what's also important about Ridge's story is the new rule in effect that maybe most MLS fans weren't aware of. In other sports, when a team puts a player on waivers, other teams can pick him up with no strings attached. So if the Dodgers put some scrub pitcher on waivers to give him his outright release, the Padres can pick up said scrub pitcher - who'd probably be an ace on that crappy team - without having to compensate the Dodgers. But in MLS, teams still held players' rights so if you wanted to pick up a player on waivers you still had to trade for him. But now, players like Martino and Gray can clear waivers and sign with whatever team they'd like without their new team compensating the Galaxy in any way. That's a good thing.
In terms of Martino and Gray, I felt both of them could have helped this season. Martino is out of position on the left side, where he spent a lot of time last year. He's better in the middle, but that's where the Galaxy had a semblance of depth a year ago. Gray is versatile if nothing else. He can go in at right back, right midfield, center midfield and be fine in any of those spots. But the Galaxy had to trim salary and this is how they did it.
ADD: And the release from the club arrived while I was tending to family stuff here at the Bueno household...
CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, March 4, 2008) – The LA Galaxy waived three players on Monday, the day that all teams must be roster and salary budget compliant in accordance with MLS rules. The club has waived midfielders Kelly Gray and Kyle Martino, as well as defender Celestine Babayaro. All three, as well as players waived by each of the other 13 MLS clubs, will be available in an MLS Waiver Draft, which will be held on Tuesday, beginning at 12 p.m. (PT).
A native of Kaduna, Nigeria, Babayaro had spent the last month training with the Galaxy, playing once in last weekend’s match against FC Seoul. The 29-year old Nigerian had spent time with Belgian club Anderlecht, as well as English sides Chelsea and Newcastle United prior to training with the Galaxy. A Gold Medal winner at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Babayaro also represented his country at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.
Gray originally joined the Galaxy on July 3, 2007 in a trade that sent Nate Jaqua to the Houston Dynamo. A six-year MLS veteran, he appeared in six regular season games, as well as three SuperLiga matches and one Open Cup game for the Galaxy last year, but missed most of the final two months of the year with a pair of calf injuries.
Martino played in 35 games in a year and a half with the Galaxy, scoring three goals and adding two assists. The 2002 MLS Rookie of the Year with the Columbus Crew, Martino led all Galaxy field players with 26 appearances for the club in the 2007 regular season, as well as playing three times in SuperLiga and three times in the Open Cup, where he scored once.