MLS released its player list of folks eligible for the Re-entry draft (the Waiver Draft is on Wednesday at 2:30 MST). Stage one (this draft is on Friday at 1:00 PM MST) is for picking up players at their 2015 Option cost. Stage 2 is for re-negotiated deals.
This draft is for players that you're sure you want, and you don't want another team to have. The alternatives to Re-Entry Draft players are many; signing free agents from abroad, signing players from lower leagues like USL and NASL, waiting on this list until closer to February and then inviting players to train, and this year, MLS has its very own class of free agents.
In other words, if past years are any indication, only a handful of these sixty players will get signed in either stage.
I'll give you the list, and then share some thoughts on intriguing names, position by position. I'm not even gonna bother looking up salaries: suffice it to say that if you're on this list, you almost certainly can be had for between $60K and $120K. The price, then, is not the determinant. It's whether any of these guys can help your ballclub. The list (care of mlssoccer.com):
GK Joe Bendik (Toronto FC)
GK Josh Ford (Orlando City SC)
GK Tally Hall (Orlando City SC)
GK Alec Kann (Chicago Fire)
GK Chris Konopka (Toronto FC)
GK Matt Lampson (Columbus Crew SC)
GK Zac MacMath (Philadelphia Union)
GK Brian Perk (LA Galaxy)
GK Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy)
GK Paolo Tornaghi (Vancouver Whitecaps)
The Rapids didn't opt to swap a draft pick to Philadelphia to get Zac MacMath, and Philly finally sorted out their GK problem, finding not one but two good keepers in Andre Blake and John McCarthy. MacMath looked sharp in his matches with the Rapids, and certainly can backup somewhere in this league. The Rapids also have John Berner, who was solid if not electric at Charlotte. They'll need a 3rd keeper, but I'm not sure you need to pay to get that guy.
Joe Bendik, Tally Hall, Chris Konopka, and Donovan Ricketts have all been MLS starters in the past two years. I think Konopka would be a great backup for anyone, and both LA and Orlando need a starting GK. Based on some late-season Galaxy performances and his terrible playoff game against Seattle, I'm not sure anyone should take Donovan Ricketts. Better to burn out than to fade away? The rest of this list needs to be evaluated based on this one question: can a better backup be had from a guy that started in USL. Probably.
DF Kevin Alston (New England Revolution)
DF Jalil Anibaba (Sporting Kansas City)
DF Steven Beitashour (Vancouver Whitecaps)
DF Jeb Brovsky (New York City FC)
DF Hassoun Camara (Montreal Impact)
DF/MF Greg Cochrane (Chicago Fire)
DF Leonardo Gonzalez (Seattle Sounders)
DF Tony Lochhead
DF Tommy Meyer (LA Galaxy)
DF Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls)
DF Pa Modou Kah (Vancouver Whitecaps)
DF Lovel Palmer (Chicago Fire)
DF Chris Schuler (Real Salt Lake)
DF Zach Scott (Seattle Sounders)
DF Seth Sinovic (Sporting Kansas City)
DF Bakary Soumare (FC Dallas)
DF Jordan Stewart (San Jose Earthquakes)
DF Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo)
DF Anthony Wallace (New York Red Bulls)
DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (New York City FC)
There's another bunch of guys who started for their clubs in 2015 here, namely Beitashour, Brovsky, Gonzalez, Kah, Schuler, Sinovic, Stewart and Watson-Siroboe. You don't want anyone who played on that NYCFC backline. Gonzalez looked old and slow in his few starts. Ditto Kah. Sinovic and Schuler didn't look so good coming back from injury, but a full year of health and regrouping and they might be worthy of taking a flyer, especially Schuler, who was once in USMNT banter. Schuler's big and strong, although injury may have gassed his mobility.
Jordan Stewart is a good player. Stewart popped an ACL against the Rapids in late summer, so anyone who takes him is thinking of reinforcing their defense for the stretch run of the season. With Stewart being 33 years old, teams may prefer to wait and see.
I think Bakary Soumare retired.
The Rapids should probably pass on this whole list, although I'd be happy if they went for Schuler or Sinovic as ‘what-if' bench assets. If the price is right.
MF Carlos Alvarez (Colorado Rapids)
MF/FW Tony Cascio (Orlando City SC)
MF Warren Creavalle (Philadelphia Union)
MF Danny Cruz (Philadelphia Union)
MF Andy Dorman (New England Revolution)
MF Michael Farfan (D.C United)
MF Fred (Philadelphia Union)
MF Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo)
MF Jeremy Hall (New England Revolution)
MF Jackson (Toronto FC)
MF Alex Lopez (Houston Dynamo)
MF Michel (FC Dallas)
MF Michael Nanchoff (Portland Timbers)
MF Lewis Neal (Orlando City SC)
MF Marco Pappa (Seattle Sounders)
MF Mauro Rosales (Vancouver Whitecaps)
MF Matt Watson (Chicago Fire)
The biggest name on this list is Marco Pappa. The general of the Sounders midfield the past few years is almost sure to end up with someone. If the Rapids don't hang onto Dillon Powers, Pappa might be able to play that midfield number ten role, although I think he's probably more viable as a backup. He's a little too much like Marcelo Sarvas, though, in terms of his skill set and what he offers. I'd like to see a 4-1-4-1 with Pappa and Sarvas in the middle, Cronin at d-mid, and a big strong holdup guy like Alan Gordon up top, but Pablo's wedded to the 4-2-3-1, so that's just me dreaming. Mauro Rosales is also a guy that can play in that same setup for us.
Michael Farfan and Boniek Garcia are guys that can offer you something in those wide midfield spots, especially since they also played in a 4-2-3-1 with their teams in 2015. Garcia seemed to really fall off last year though. Michel can play a free kick or a corner with pinpoint accuracy, but that's pretty much all he can do. Nonetheless, there's nobody on this list I think the Rapids could really use, as-is.
FW Jairo Arrieta (D.C. United)
FW Bright Dike
FW Robbie Findley (Toronto FC)
FW Mike Fucito (San Jose Earthquakes)
FW Chandler Hoffman (Houston Dynamo)
FW Antoine Hoppenot (Philadelphia Union)
FW Jason Johnson (Chicago Fire)
FW Danny Mwanga (Orlando City SC)
FW Dane Richards (New York Red Bulls)
FW Charlie Rugg (LA Galaxy)
FW Vicente Sanchez (Colorado Rapids)
FW Gabriel Torres (Colorado Rapids)
FW Maximiliano Urruti (Portland Timbers)
Maxi Urruti was always an awesome switch-up for the Timbers late in the game. They'd take off the big strong Fanendo Adi and put on the slick and speedy Urruti and give teams headaches. The Rapids two strikers are kind of already that mold: Dominique Badji is in the mold of Adi, and Doyle has the speedy get-behind-defenders and poach of Urruti. The crafty Argentine will stick somewhere in MLS, but not with the ‘Pids.
Gaby Torres' experience in Commerce City will probably ward off other teams from taking him. He's probably better off a big fish in a small pond back home in the Panamanian league. In the event some MLS team goes get him, he might be a decent 15 minute option off the bench. But certainly not at his 2015 paycheck, which was north of $400K
And I sure will miss Sanchez.