As we gear up for the regular season, the Colorado Rapids announced that they have waived forward Shkelzen Gashi. The Albanian international was a key part of the 2016 team that made it to the Western Conference Finals, but got injured during the playoffs and never made it back to the starting XI. After a very disappointing 2017 season and being called out by GM Padraig Smith in an interview about his lack of effort, Gashi seemed to put more effort into 2018. He was consistently injured, but made 21 appearances last season.
While there were fan reports that Gashi was starting to look like his 2016 self, apparently the club didn’t agree. This move leaves Tim Howard as the club’s only DP.
Was this a good decision?
Obviously, we’ve all been disappointed with Gashi’s output (or lack thereof) since the 2016 season. It seemed that he just couldn’t stay injury-free, which was a shame.
But was this a strategic move that was planned or a backup to not being able to free up enough international slots on the roster? Why have Gashi come into preseason and work with the team if they were planning to release him?
Since they’re still on the hook for his contract, I still wouldn’t expect a big DP signing until next season, but this could definitely make the summer transfer window more interesting this year.
UPDATE 6:07 p.m.:
Gashi was on a guaranteed contract, which means it still hits the Rapids salary cap this year. Per a club spokesperson and this article by Sam Stejskal:
“Gashi’s contract is guaranteed through the 2019 season. According to the MLS Players Association, he made $1.67 million in 2018. By waiving him, Colorado assume responsibility for Gashi’s entire salary; the league will no longer pay the first $530,000 of his wages as they do with DPs on active rosters. If he’s claimed by a new MLS club, that team will pay him the amount of his salary budget charge that they informed the league they were willing to absorb, with Colorado set to pay the difference. If he goes unclaimed, the Rapids will be on the hook for his entire salary.”