We've talked about who we want to see D.C. United take with the number one pick in this month's SuperDraft, and yesterday we talked a bit about which returning MLS or USMNT players we'd like to see don Black-and-Red via United's top spot in the league allocation order. Today, let's take things in another direction. Let's talk about what it would take to pry one of these player acquisition tools out of Dave Kasper's hands. What would you demand in a trade for one of these assets?
First off, these are two very different assets. The SuperDraft pick is guaranteed to pick up a player, and a top college player at that. But there's always a risk with college players - even the top ones - as they transition into MLS. On the other hand, the allocation order really only comes into play when there's an enticing and established player coming into the league - the top spot is rarely traded in a vacuum, and the spot's value is pretty directly connected to whatever player is returning (or "returning) to the league.
On the SuperDraft side, there are really three players who seem to be worth the top pick, and any of them would help United. Cal center backs Christian Dean and Steve Birnbaum and Maryland forward Patrick Mullins are all coveted around the league, and teams could look to trade up for the chance to take one of them. What would you demand in exchange for giving up that right?
With the allocation order, we have a potential target already considering signing with MLS in former Chicago Fire midfielder Marco Pappa. There are also rumors that Jermaine Jones could be coming Stateside (though he'd almost certainly sign a designated player contract and so avoid allocation) and speculation that Maurice Edu or Joe Corona, both of whom are hard up for playing time in advance of this summer's World Cup, could join the league in the search for greater playing time. Any of these players would be a strong bet to strengthen even the best MLS side (just think about Mo Edu in what used to be the Roger Espinoza role at Sporting KC if you don't believe me). Knowing this, what should the brass at RFK be looking for if another club comes asking for trade terms?
For me, it would take a hell of a lot to part with either. Remember that United held onto both top spots when trading for Eddie Johnson, despite speculation (often from Seattle fans) that one or both could be extracted from United. United has a great opportunity to improve their club at relatively low cost with both assets, so getting value is obviously a must. But what constitutes value? Allocation money? Draft spots (this year and/or future years)? Current starters?
Honestly, I'm not sure there's any price that another MLS club could reasonably offer that would convince me to give up either spot.
It's an open discussion so feel free to spitball. Let's figure this thing out.
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