The Fire today, along with other teams in the MLS, released their list of players that had their options picked up and those who have not. You can find the club's official press release here and you can read Sean Spence's article that lists cf97 players as well as the players from other teams that are eligible for the re-entry draft.
I'm going to highlight a few players on the Fire's lists who were a surprise to me and also a few players who the Fire might want to target in the Re-Entry Draft. So here we go:
- Chris Rolfe: This is probably the most surprising to all of cf97 nation. The fan favorite who came back to the Fire in 2012 after trying his luck in Denmark had an off year to say the least. The 30 year old made $248,333.33 in guaranteed compensation in 2013 and his option was probably for around $270k. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that his performance in 2013 did not warrant his option to be picked up. I'm guessing that Frank Yallop and Brian Bliss are going to try to negotiate a lower number with Rolfe in order to keep him around.
- Daniel Paladini: He reminded me of John Thorrington in how he would bring bucket loads of energy to games either when he started or when he was subbed in during the second half. His $91k may seem like a lot but it was definitely a decent price for a back up center mid.
- Steven Kinney: For a player that has only seen the field 15 times in 4 years that is a little surprising to me. I just don't understand how someone that seems to be good friends with the injury bug can be brought back year after year. To me this may be a wasted roster spot especially after the past two seasons that he has had.
- Logan Pause: Surprising, but to me this day had to come at some point. He has served this club well and if he does not come back than I thank him for his dedication to the badge, but he does have to realize that if he is able to renegotiate to come back than his role on the field will more than likely be minimized.
Here are some players available from the rest of the league that I think the Fire could target in the Re-Entry Draft. None of the names really stand out to me that the Fire should get at their current deals but definitely they should go after them in the second stage of the draft.
- Bobby Boswell and Ugo Ihemulu: How many times this season were we clamoring for a decent back up for our defense especially in the center? These two players have shown over the past few years that they can be starters in this league. Imagine if Soumare loses confidence in his ability and we are able to bring on a player that knows this league and has been a starter for a few years? Yes, I do realize a player like Boswell will go quickly in the draft but there is that chance we could land him or Ihemulu.
- James Riley and Sean Franklin: Franklin won't last past the first round as he is probably going to be the most coveted player in the draft. He would be an automatic starter on almost any team and would fit the Fire's right back position if they choose to move Anibaba back to the middle. Riley, on the other hand, is someone that would be a perfect back up for either of our wing backs especially since Segares does need a rest once in a while.
- David Ferreira and Fabian Espindola: Every team needs a creative spark and these two can help with that. Espindola will be high in demand as he will only be 28 to start the season; Ferreira, on the other hand, will be 34. Espindola would be a great addition in order to create some competition amongst the forwards. Ferreira I can see playing off the bench when offense is needed; he would be a better option off the bench than what the Fire had in 2013. How much would he like that role? It depends on his wants for the future but at his current price and injury history there is no way any team will select him unless he is willing to take a drastic pay cut.
- How about Chad Barrett? *Crickets*
Whatever the Fire decide to do, they now have 8 roster slots to fill - and the Re-Entry Draft may be a perfect place to start fillin'. Thursday will be an interesting day for cf97 and the rest of the league.