Good Friday morning friends, hope you all are getting ready for a restful weekend amid this busy holiday season.
MLS offseason is now in full swing: obscure drafts no one ever pays attention to, GAM and TAM getting tossed around like its going out of style, teams being linked to over-the-hill superstars the world over.
For the Caps little has changed — no moves have been made, with the Deibar Caicedo transfer still stuck in neutral. Still, the Caps have been their normal selves in making some odd, if not downright dumb moves.
We covered the Evan Bush deal briefly in Monday’s Coffee with the Caps and I’ll touch on it again here, as the team managed to swing a significant amount of GAM for a guy who would be, at best, their backup keeper this season.
I was an advocate for selling high on Bush and keeping Meredith so I am in favor of this move, although retaining an unknown amount of Bush’s salary isn’t ideal given that we also are likely to be eating the cap hit for Milinkovic as well next season. Another downside is it appears that we’re going to be rolling with Thomas Hasal as a backup, which is something I vehemently oppose as the kid needs minutes right now.
And then there was the decision to leave Derek Cornelius unprotected heading into the Expansion Draft earlier this week, instead opting to keep Tosaint Ricketts from going to Austin.
The Caps wound up getting away with it, as Austin elected to focus primarily on attackers (the one defender they grabbed was Kamal Miller, who got flipped to Montreal for a boatload of GAM).
But the decision is just downright baffling. Even if we accept the premise that Cornelius is firmly third in the centerback pecking order (a fact that this move all but confirms), heck even if we accept the premise that he is the third most talented CB on the roster (something I don’t think is true), this is a dumb move.
Ricketts is a bang average backup striker. For Austin he would have taken up an international roster spot to do something that any number of American MLS veterans could do just fine. It is dubious that there would be any resale market in Toronto of Montreal for him either. There is a near-zero chance he would have been selected.
But Cornelius, by virtue of being younger and having a much higher ceiling, does have a significant amount of value. Yeah, Austin still may not have wanted to burn a domestic roster slot on him long-term but he is a player that they could have moved on, much like they did with Miller. The move smacks of the Caps not really understanding what they have, although they eventually got away with it in the end.
It also raises legit questions about what opportunities Cornelius is going to have going forward, especially if Andy Rose returns. For whatever reason MDS rates Ranko Veselinovic head and shoulders above Cornelius, which doesn’t seem right and has been a constant source of confusion for Caps fans. It will be interesting to watch the how the pecking order develops over the course of the pre-season, as Cornelius will perhaps get another chance to impress and win back over the coaching staff.
Onto some links...
Best of the Rest
Alphonso Davies became the first player from North America to crack the Fifa Best XI, which was released this week. Another major honor for our man in Munich
Ugly, ugly stuff as Phonzie and his girlfriend, PSG striker Jordyn Huitema, get a torrent of racist abuse for a simple picture the pair shared of them on holiday. Disgraceful and rightfully condemned by Bayern and others
Between The Sticks focuses their attention on how the Caps’ young players fared in 2020