FanPost

Should they stay or Should they go?

2017 is in the books and for all intents and purposes this year was a resounding success for the Dynamo. Despite their unceremonious exit in the Western Conference Championship the Dynamo clearly exceeded expectations this year and got the club back to where it’s fans expect them to be, competing for hardware in the playoffs.

But time waits for no man… or sports franchise. Inevitably another page is torn from the calendar and the club’s focus immediately turns towards 2018 and trying to build upon their return to the playoffs this year. The first of the many building blocks needing to be placed as they construct the 2018 iteration of the Dynamo begins immediately. Roster Evaluations are under way and the Front Office is feverishly determining which players to bring back and which to part ways with as the Expansion and Super Drafts loom large in the near future.

The Dynamo have a lot of expiring contracts this year, and I mean A LOT. So do we see another massive roster turnover? Here is my amateur GM assessment of what I think needs to be done and I think my POV on roster turnover will be pretty apparent to everyone.

For clarification, I am only focusing on players with expiring contracts or loans.

No Brainers:

Alberth Ellis - The Honduran highlight reel has no doubt been the gem of last season’s signings and has become one of the undoubted fan favorites in short order. Despite ownership’s track record with the pocket book, you have to believe they will exercise the buy option on his loan contract rather than immediately dissolve all of the goodwill built up with this season’s success.

Juan David Cabezas -While not as flashy as Ellis, Cabezas was every bit as valuable this season and may be even more valuable next season depending on other offseason moves. The Dynamo don’t exercise buy out options, ever! So expecting them to do so twice in one offseason may be a pipe dream but I think everyone across the board would say these are moves they have to make.

Eric Alexander – The man may have made himself a lot of money if the Timbers series was the last of the year. But against the Sounders he was not able to replicate the same spectacular form. Regardless he is going to be a free agent and depending on the market for him my opinion on Alexander could change, but if you can bring him back at a decent number he is a versatile player that at the least gives you some depth in the midfield.

Manotas – Undoubtedly on a production for minutes basis I think he continues to be a great potential player for the Dynamo. They need to find a way to get him to that next level and if they can he will be a dominant player in MLS. Regardless he is a player to hold on to.

The Elder Statesmen:

OBG – Boniek has been a great Dynamo for several years now and you could not ask for a better club ambassador as his "El Presidente" nickname among the players suggest. Having said that the game has passed him by and this team needs to make more impact with his roster slot. I would love to keep him involved with the organization, an idea I floated elsewhere would be for the club to back him in an academy project in Honduras, but I think the salary and roster slots are needed elsewhere to improve the club.

Beasley – It’s time! The man that time forgot has finally been remembered. This year Beasley finally started to show his age. He was injured or an early sub regularly this year but that’s not the main reason they should move on. His play on the field especially his speed dropped off significantly this season but that’s not the main reason they should move on. The reason they should move on is Remick is ready! He looked good on the field and when you add on the price tag to the other two points, you can’t really justify bringing Beasley back.

Rico – I love Rico! But I love the Rico from the 5-6 years ago. Rico began to be phased out towards the end of the season and I think its time to let him go and look to improve the quality of players in your pool. But regardless Rico will be Forever Orange!

Senderos – After Portland, I would have said hell yes! After Seattle… probably not. I would say at this point they desperately need to improve their backline and signing an injury prone older CB probably isn’t the way to go.

In a theme you can see developing, the Dynamo have several players that have come to the end of their careers. You might be able to make cases for keeping one or more of them but the reality is what you would gain in the locker room you would lose everywhere else. With one exception…

Vincente – I want to shout "Yes!!!" here but then I calm down and realize he will be 38 years old next season. Let me say that again…. He will be 38 next season. So, after taking a step back and a couple of deep breaths to allow rational thinking to take hold again. I come to the very pragmatic and thoughtful conclusion that the Dynamo should…. Yes!!! They should bring him back! Even at 37 he was the most technical player on the field for the Dynamo and was still able to provide magic late and really really early in games. Also, he is a player coach and gives you some great leadership for what is and probably will continue to be a fairly young attacking core. I would also have him and Memo live together for then next year and hope that Vincente can mold him.

Decisions:

The FO have some tough decisions to make depending on how they want to build the team in 2018 and I think these are the toughest ones they have to make and could go either way.

Alex – My gut says yes. My head says no. And my heart is conflicted. He’s not expensive and he doesn’t take up an International roster slot and those are both big points in his favor. But We have seen his ceiling and at this point if he is going to be a starter next year that concerns me. At the same time if they let him go who are they going to bring in to replace his production. Tomas has in my mind showed himself to be the better option in Attacking Mid and I think he will only get better next season. But I think this is one of those areas they should be looking at an opportunity to upgrade the roster.

Willis – He is a good backup. But I am not in love with him being their #1. But how can you possibly let him go considering the ongoing issues with Tyler Deric? I am so conflicted here.

Bottom line, with Alex and Willis, if they can bring in upgrades I would be okay with letting either of them go but if they can’t then I am okay with bringing either or both of them back.

Leonardo - I think the writing is on the wall here. He makes close to half a mil, will be 30 going into next season and was regularly out of the lineup for injuries. The team needs to significantly improve their backline and a good way to do that is finding a strong CB with pace to partner with the crafty veteran Machado.

Deric – I really wish this guy made better decisions On and Off the field. I don’t know how the Dynamo can continue to tie their future to someone who clearly has some issues and you just never know when they will come back to bite them in the butt. I won’t make declarations based on things that haven’t been proven in a court of law yet, no matter how heinous and reprehensible I think they are, but I have a hard time signing off on bringing him back.

AJ – With his injury it is hard to make a decision on this one. I think they would love to be able to bring him back. While you have a couple of interesting developing options at RGV I am not sure either of them are ready to make the jump to MLS yet and there is not a decent option on the roster to replace him. So, for now, you wait and see and hope he recovers fully and can be your right back next year.

Wenger – I like a lot of what Wenger brings to the table but I don’t know how well he fits into the way Wilmer likes to play. If you were asking me in a vacuum, I would bring him back but I would not be shocked if the Dynamo allow him to walk either.

Outliers:

Holland/Ward – I don’t like having two bottom of the depth chart players, who spend the majority of their time in the Valley eating up International roster slots! It would be different if these were a couple of teenage developing prospects that they saw a lot of value in. But they will be 25 and 23 respectfully at the beginning of next season and I just feel like they are mis-utilizing the International roster slots by keeping both of them. Maybe you take both into camp next year but I think it would be a mistake to keep both. At this point I think you have seen more of and more from Ward and I would keep him and let Holland go.

Escalante – Cut him already. Neither I nor the Dynamo should spend any more time on this player.

Memo/Lucatero – I liked the development you saw in the home growns this year and I would bring them back.

Anibaba/Garcia/Hunter/Malki – You could let them all go and no one would notice but I think you probably bring back Anibaba for his versatility as a backup. The rest I could take or leave but that is a lot of mediocrity essentially lining up for RB playing time.

The Albatross

Cubo – No his contract isn’t expiring (I wish). But I think they actively should be looking for an opportunity to unload him this offseason regardless of what they get in return. Don’t let his all-time Dynamo scoring record fool you, he disappeared for large stretches of the season especially at the end of the year. He is the most Unproductive Productive player I have ever seen and I for one would much rather have Manotas have the majority of playing time or bring in someone even better than both rather than bring Cubo back for another year, and I doubt that I am alone on that.

This was a great season but the team and the front office can’t afford to make the same mistakes as those last couple of Kinnear years by resting on their laurels. They have got to improve and the combination of several players at the end of their careers and a lot of expiring contracts give them the opportunity to do just that.

Great job in 2017 now don’t screw it up in 2018!


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