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Marry/Boff/Kill: Jeff Larentowicz

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A powerful midfield leader whose game has some limitations - what say you?

Whatever one says about Larentowicz' game, no one questions his heart. Is that enough for Fire nation?
Whatever one says about Larentowicz' game, no one questions his heart. Is that enough for Fire nation?
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? We already have an entire week of marrying, boffing and killing under our proverbial belts, and if you missed any of it, it can all be found under our Marry/Boff/Kill Story Stream, including our M/B/K: Week 1 Wrap-up. Yesterday, we took a look at Wells Thompson and Mike Magee.

Jeff Larentowicz, #20, 30 years old

2013: 32 appearances (31 starts), 2807 minutes, 2 goals, 4 assists

Career: 239 appearances (229 starts), 20,559 minutes, 25 goals, 15 assists

$225,000 base salary, $231,000 guaranteed

The second member of last offseason's let's-buy-experience midfield makeover - with Joel Lindpere - Larentowicz was by far the more successful of the two. Big Red became a fixture in the lineup immediately, won the vice-captain's armband, and played his heart out in his first season in Fire red navy blue red, recovering from a terrible start along with the rest of the squad. What say you, Fire nation? Marry, boff or kill?

The case for ‘Marry'

Larentowicz is a poor-man's (read: MLS) version of Marouane Fellaini: A tall, powerful central midfielder who has enough game to make his physicality count. He's also a leader, as evidenced by the nearly constant presence of the captain's armband over his sleeve. And he's just nice - plain-spoken, humble and hard-working. You bring Big Red home to Mama, and she's going to hug him hard before he leaves.

The case for ‘Boff'

That said, $225k is a good bit of lettuce in MLS for a defensive central midfielder who doesn't create goals and isn't the greatest passer. The eastern conference has seen an influx of Busquets-lite defensive mids recently - Matias Laba in Toronto, Matias Sanchez in Columbus, Hernan Bernardello in Montreal, Scott Caldwell in New England - and all of them put Larentowicz' limited passing and possession game in stark contrast. This is also the final year of Big Red's contract; it could help both parties to extend this clubhouse leader's contract at a lower cap number.

The case for ‘Kill'

It's not that unusual for massive turnover to follow a front-office cleanout like the one the Fire have just undergone. In that scenario - especially if Frank Yallop is serious about putting together a possession team which builds attacks from the back - it's conceivable that Larentowicz could be moved along. It'd be cruel, shipping off a guy who's worked his butt off just a year after he signs, but soccer is a cruel business.