Marc Dos Santos made his first roster moves as head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps this morning, as the club announced which player options they were picking up and which were being declined.
Goalkeeper Sean Melvin, defenders Doneil Henry, and Brett Levis, midfielders Nicolas Mezquida, David Norman Jr., and Yordy Reyna, and striker Erik Hurtado had their options picked up. Goalkeepers Stefan Marinovic and Spencer Richey, defenders Jose Aja, Roberto Dominguez, and Aaron Maund, midfielders Marvin Emnes, Aly Ghazal, and Brek Shea, and striker Myer Bevan had their options declined. With the seven player options picked up, the Whitecaps now have 17 players under contract for 2019.
While some might be frustrated/surprised at Mezquida and Hurtado’s options being picked up, both provide important depth for the squad and can be utilized in Dos Santos’ playing style. What might be more surprising are the options that were declined.
It was no surprise to see Aja, Emnes, and Shea on the list of declined options, however, it is a bit surprising to see both Marinovic and Richey. With the pending move of Waston, I was surprised that Dominguez was not kept on the roster. I was expecting Maund to possibly be kept as well, but his high salary (almost $200k) may have been the reason he was declined. Ghazal was always a question mark. While he provided some important skills, he was one of the highest paid Whitecaps at just over $700k. It is possible that he comes back on a smaller salary, but I would put that possibility as unlikely.
The decision to decline both Marinovic and Richey, and keep Melvin, is an interesting decision. It is important to remember that both keepers might have expressed a desire to leave and not really left the club with many options. However, if that is not the case, I am a bit disappointed that the Caps got rid of their top two keepers. The Richey move stings a bit more as I felt he was ready to ascend to the starter position, and I have always loved his personality. It is something that I feel this club needs.
Of course, the moves do not signify that the players will not return. Remember that player options have a specifically salary attached to them. If the club and the player have agreed to a higher or lower salary, then the player could return. It is quite possible that Marinovic ($162k+) and Richey ($68K+) wanted significant salary increases. Again though, if that is not the case, it makes the decision even more curious as both are relatively cheap -Rowe made $135k last season.
Next up in the off-season deadlines is the half-day trade window on December 9th, followed by the Expansion Draft on December 11th at 11 am (PST).
What moves stand out to you? Any surprises? Disappointments?
Goalkeepers (1): Sean Melvin
Defenders (5): Marcel de Jong, Doneil Henry, Brett Levis, Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston
Midfielders (8): Michael Baldisimo, Simon Colyn, Felipe, Efrain Juarez, Nicolas Mezquida, David Norman Jr., Yordy Reyna, Russell Teibert
Strikers (3): Theo Bair, Anthony Blondell, Erik Hurtado