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Marry/Boff/Kill: Daniel Paladini

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Scrappy fan-favorite midfielder just on the fringe of starting squad

Always a fan favorite, Paladini wears his heart on his sleeve.
Always a fan favorite, Paladini wears his heart on his sleeve.
USA TODAY Sports

"Marry/F**k/Kill" is a game of the Internet age, and the rules are simple: name a group of three people ("Iron Man and Thor and Captain America," "Blanche, Rose or Dorothy"), and ask the crowd 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 earlier, we started the series with Logan Pause, then featured Gonzalo Segares, Chris Rolfe, Joel Lindpere, Egidio Arevalo Rios, Hunter Jumper, Bakary Soumare and Corben Bone. Earlier today, Patrick Nyarko got the treatment.

Daniel Paladini, #11, 29 years old

2013: 20 appearances (7 starts), 823 minutes, 2 goals, 3 assists

MLS career: 66 appearances (35 starts), 3463 minutes, 5 goals, 6 assists

$86,625 base salary, $91,103 guaranteed

Daniel Paladini is a guy who's worked his way back into the league the old-fashioned way - after failing to catch on with the Galaxy and Chivas USA, the Californian garnered two consecutive Best XI mentions while playing for the Carolina Railhawks in the second-division NASL. The Fire picked him up after his second year with Carolina, and he's been on the fringe of the first team for the three seasons since.

The case for ‘Marry'

Some players just wear their heart on their sleeve, and Paladini is one of them - his passion and commitment are palpable when he's playing well, as he was earlier in the season. And he's not paid a king's ransom; $90k for a solid backup or spot starter is entirely reasonable.

The case for ‘Boff'

Paladini is an all-rounder, which is to say that his game doesn't have a notable specialty to brag about. He's a decent passer, but can get flummoxed; he works hard defensively, but doesn't anticipate well; he's a decent athlete, but he's creeping up on 30. It's just possible that the Fire can get Paladini-level production for less, either from Daniel or someone else.

The case for ‘Kill'

For the second year running, Paladini worked his way into the lineup, then out of it. A lot can come down to the exit interview - will he accept being a spot starter? Or would he rather slide back down to NASL and dominate for a couple of years before he retires?