On Wednesday December 8, MLS will hold the first ever Re-entry Draft and though I was unsure about it at first, I am quite excited to see how this shakes up the league. It's good to keep in mind a player can have their option declined, but resign at a lower salary with his parent club if he cannot find a new club (in the draft) who is willing to sign the player at his 2011 salary option.
I expect to see numerous MLS vets changing teams, or not even being on a roster come the opening of training camp. A few teams have already declined options on players and those players will enter the draft unless they come to terms on a smaller contract; and that is only if the club seeks to keep hold of the player.
Sporting KC has released Josh Wolff. The excellent Down the Byline blog has a little information about that. Houston has declined the option on seven players including Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Eddie Robinson, Ryan Cochrane, Joseph Ngwenya, Adrian Serioux and Anthony Obodai. All can now enter the re-entry draft in hopes of being resigned at their 2010 salary. Pat Onstad is the only player rumored to be kept, but at a lower salary. Houston has also parted ways with Cory Ashe and Dominic Oduro. However, they will not enter the draft as they are out of contract and have not had their option turned down and according to my information do not meet the requirements to entry the draft.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of any of these players and I can't imagine too many teams wanting to sign them at their 2010 salary. Serioux maybe the best of the lot being an experienced defender. However, he has bounced around the league for a few years and could either be used as cover in defence or he may be on his way out of the league.
In November, the Columbus Crew declined the option on Guillermo Barros Schelotto, which would pay the 37 year old $650,000 for 2011. That sounds quite high to me, however, thesocceroom writes Schelotto could be resigned by an MLS team at $325,000. This can only happen if he is not selected in the first re-entry draft and goes into the second draft. Still at $325k I don't think MLS should be resigning a 37 year old forward. The Crew have also declined options on Frankie Hejduk who is rumored to be in linked with a possible Chivas USA move. Gino Padula and Duncan Oughton have also had their options decline..
As the list grows with the little news leaks every day I can't see many of these vets being drafted at their 2011 option; but I do see some of these players renegotiating a new contract at a lower rate. Many of these players do not have other leagues to go to unless they want to make a step down into division 2 in North America or a possible move abroad to a lower level of play. This could also be the end of the line for several MLS vets, but with the return of the reserve league and two expansion teams many of these vets should find a home as depth or may even challenge for a starting role.