Ordinarily, a game of "Marry/F**k/Kill" involves a naming a group of three subjects who presumably have something in common, and challenging the people in the conversation to choose one fate for each subject - one to partner with for good, one explored for a connection but not kept, and one cast off into the outer darkness. Fans of 30 Rock will recognize this game in its safe-for-primetime version, Marry/Boff/Kill, which name we're borrowing because we do not want SB Nation getting angry emails.
Here at Hot Time, we're going to use the game to talk about players - specifically Chicago Fire players, naturally. We're going to use it as a way to talk about the roster. It works like this: ‘Marry' indicates a willingness to keep the player regardless of cap issues or any other considerations; ‘Boff' (i.e., ‘F**k) means that we're, uhh, f**king the player over, asking for modifications to their contract or running them through the Re-Entry Draft process - we're interested but not on these terms; and ‘Kill' means terminating the player's contact with CF97.
We're going to present some kind of argument for each outcome, and let the community have their say. I mean, why not? It's something like three months until the first preseason friendly.
Logan Pause, #12, 32 years old
2013: 15 appearances (11 starts), 904 mins, 0 goals, 0 assists
Career: 274 appearances (247 starts), 21,429 mins, 3 goals, 11 assists
$180,000 base salary, $197,833 guaranteed
We begin with the captain, Logan Pause. Logan is easily the longest-tenured player on the Fire, as well as the only connection on the roster with the club's last MLS Cup appearance in 2003. Always remarkably durable, 2013 was the year that age seemed to catch up with Pause, as he missed several games in the early summer with soft-tissue injuries.
The case to ‘Marry'
At that salary number, it's hard to find a rationale to keep Logan. $180k may not be a number that turns heads in world football, but in our salary-capped league it's a huge amount to spend on a backup midfielder who isn't a development project.
That said, Pause is not only a connection with the club's storied past, but also a tremendous clubhouse leader. Is he ready to move his focus from preparing himself to preparing others? Because as a player/coach, those numbers might make more sense - and, as a player/coach, perhaps the team gets some cap relief from MLS HQ.
The case to ‘Boff'
It's the salary number that almost demands Logan get boffed here - into the Re-Entry Draft with you! Keeping Pause as a senior statesman/pre-coach/situation player could be entirely agreeable at a much lower cap number. Could we see a situation like Segares last winter, where his re-signing is announced after the first round of the Re-Entry Draft?
I'd argue that pushing Pause out the door is exactly the ending we don't want to see. When you stitch ‘Tradition' on your jerseys, when the word literally hangs on the walls of your home, then it's important to back the word up with deeds. One doesn't build ‘Tradition' by shipping loyal servants out to the glue factory the moment they come up lame.
The case to ‘Kill'
Again, no one is advocating any players get killed - addled patriots, put down your semi-automatics; ain't no tree of liberty getting watered up in here. This is about the contract, ok?
And hoooo boy, what a contract. Log onto Big Soccer any time, day or night, and there are people arguing in the bluest of terms about Logan Pause, "master of the back-pass," and his contract. None of the front-office people who signed that deal with Pause are still here. If Frank Yallop wants to deliver a short, sharp shock to his 2014 roster, cutting the captain loose could do it - he's well-liked by his teammates, which might just be the idea.
So there it is: Marry, boff, or kill Logan Pause. What's it gonna be, Fire nation?