Ordinarily, a game of "Marry/F**k/Kill" involves a naming a group of three people who presumably have something in common, and challenging the people in the conversation to choose one fate for each of them - 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. In case you didn't get with the action yesterday, we started the series with Logan Pause and Gonzalo Segares.
Chris Rolfe, #17, 30 years old
2013: 31 appearances (26 starts), 2135 mins, 4 goals, 1 assist
Fire career: 176 appearances (148 starts), 12737 mins, 48 goals, 22 assists
$225,000 base salary, $248,333 guaranteed
Potentially a tough decision here - Chris Rolfe carried this team for a 10- or 12-game stretch in 2012, but 2013 was not kind to the Ohioan. A goal every 544 minutes? Yowza.
The case to ‘Marry'
Rolfe's contract surely has another year left, and he's never a guy whose effort is talked down. Chris still looks the part, still combines well, still has that quick, heavy shot that surprised Milan all those years ago. How much of his struggles were down to simple bad luck? Did he lose confidence when the entire team sucked out of the gate?
The case to ‘Boff'
That contract number wouldn't look bad if Rolfe had put up numbers closer to his career average - just going by his minutes played, he ‘should've' put up something like nine goals and four assists. That cap number, though - at around two-thirds of a DP slot, it's hard to justify on this year's production, especially on a guy who's historically been fragile. Maybe a new deal with lower base pay (~$100,000) and a spread of incentive bonuses for minutes played and production?
The case to ‘Kill'
Some athletes seem to come undone quickly at the end of their careers - a nagging injury never quite heals, or that extra two percent of explosiveness just fades, and suddenly the game is whirling around you instead of coming to your feet. Could Rolfe be in that transition? If the Fire cut him loose, expect to see Chris in Indy11 colors come summer.