Chris Bianci tweets (@rapids_news) some great rumorlicious gems on occasion, one that may have passed under your radar was this one:
#Rapids are Listening to offers for Jeff Larentowicz. Several teams have already approached
Bianchi went on to declare that the interest in Larentowicz is very high, and several clubs have already made offers for the player. The Rapids are not actively looking to deal him but are listening to some of those offers. He also expressed that removing Larentowicz from the squad puts too much pressure on the youngster Shane O'Neill and the near-retirement Pablo Mastroeni.
Here's my thought on that: if the Rapids are looking to get younger, they have to take either Hendry Thomas or Jeff Larentowicz. I don't believe Pareja is going to want to play a 4-3-3 with two defensive-oriented midfielders in a midfield that is getting more crowded all the time. Thomas can play the role of the disruptor and distributor, and the Rapids are going to have to make due without having two of those players on the pitch at once. I think in Gary Smith's "Empty Bucket" 4-4-2, having two defensive mids in the center was absolutely critical to the success of the system.
But in Pareja's 4-3-3? Do you think that there is similar room for two defensive midfielders both playing to disrupt the offense of the opponent? I don't believe so. I think the reason offers are being made on Larentowicz is because other clubs are seeing this as well. They've done the math and seen that Larentowicz is the odd man out. Well, he's the only one that they want to make an offer for anyway: Mastroeni is too old and the Rapids won't give him up anyway. O'Neill is unproven. And they know the Rapids won't be willing to listen to offers for Hendry Thomas.
This brings us to the question: if the Rapids are listening to offers, who should we listen to, and what should we take from them?
I won't say specifically what team, but let's put it this way: the offer that the Rapids should consider most seriously should be an offer from an Eastern Conference club that has a higher draft pick this year. Allocation money will most certainly be involved, but ultimately what I want the Rapids to have is more than one pick in the first round of the MLS Superdraft, and more than one in the second round as well.
Your reaction might be "WHAT? You're going to give up one of our most trusted players for some unproven kid?"
I know, it sounds crazy. But look here: the Rapids staff has been more actively scouting this draft than any other draft in Rapids history. I think the Rapids know they are going all-in on this one, and it would be a shame if all that scouting was just for one pick in the first round, right? If the Rapids are spending resources, you best believe if they get an offer to get more bang for that buck, they are going to consider that offer very carefully.
Why would I say "Eastern Conference"? Because Larentowicz is not a player that I look forward to matching up against more than once on the regular season. He's a great player and the less that the Rapids have to face him, the better. Trading him to a Western Conference rival would be less preferable because I would not relish the thought of having to line up against him three times in a season, given the way the schedules are. All other things being equal, I'd take the offer from the East.
But what do you think? Are you more of the "we need another veteran" type? Or do you think the Rapids shouldn't even consider it?
You tell me.