Andy Williams Draft DL

Drafts on Drafts: Offseason Selection Processes Explained

Offseason has been upon us for a few weeks and while I’m not yet to the point where I need to stalk Mike Magee around town, I am looking forward to the always interesting movements around MLS.

With the second Dispersal Draft in MLS history as well as another Expansion Draft in the offing, the 2014-15 offseason could see the most movement in MLS history…

All the important dates and what to know about them:

MLS Dispersal Draft for Chivas USA players – Wednesday, November 19

The league has only once before had to redistribute players due to clubs going extinct. Back in 2002 when MLS contracted the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny, two drafts – Allocation and Dispersal -- were held to cast the remaining players to the 10 MLS clubs at the time.

How did Pablo Mastroeni end up in Colorado for so many years? Allocation Draft.
How did Brian Dunseth make Columbus his third of six MLS homes? Dispersal Draft.

Pablo Mastroeni selected by the Colorado Rapids in the 2002 Allocation Draft
Pablo Mastroeni was the first selection in the 2002 MLS Allocation Draft

Since Allocation has a different meaning at this point, the Dispersal Draft is all that will take place this year. Instead of going in reverse order from the previous season’s finish, this time the Dispersal Draft will have an NBA Draft Lottery feel to it, with non playoff teams and new expansion clubs getting two entries in the bucket and 2014 playoff clubs getting one to decide the overall draft order.

If clubs acquire a player via the Dispersal Draft, they must take players at their 2015 budget number with their options exercised. All draft picks that Chivas USA traded away for the 2015 SuperDraft will be honored while the ones they held are removed, with the same being the case for 2016.

MLS confirmed last week that Mexican star Erick “Cubo” Torres will not take part in the Dispersal Draft as the league tries to work out a deal to keep him north of the border.

MLS Cup Final – Sunday, December 7

Woo hoo.

Half-day Trade Window – Monday December 8 (8 am CT – noon CT)

Teams may trade with each other at this time or re-sign players. A transaction blackout begins at noon CT and runs through the MLS Expansion Draft.

MLS Expansion Draft Wednesday, December 10

The ninth Expansion Draft in MLS history. The front offices of New York City FC and Orlando City would be well-advised to see how the Chicago Fire utilized the very first MLS Expansion Draft in 1997 to build the double-winning team of the following year.

The league is certainly different from that time so using it as a road-map probably wouldn’t work.

Andy Williams Chicago Fire 2003-2004
The Fire gambled by exposing Andy Williams in the 2004 Expansion Draft and RSL bit

Some of the rules surrounding this year’s Expansion Draft haven’t yet been made public (mainly number of international players that need to be protected) but what we do know:

  • Teams are allowed to protect 11 players from their 2014 rosters.
  • Homegrown and Generation adidas players are automatically protected (Harry Shipp and Chris Ritter)
  • Once a team has had two players selected, they can’t lose anymore.

Past Fire players that have been chosen in the Expansion Draft: Andy Williams and D.J. Countess (Real Salt Lake 2004), Orlando Perez (Chivas USA 2004), Nate Jaqua (Toronto FC 2006), Ivan Guerrero (San Jose 2007), Stephen King (Seattle 2008), David Myrie (Philadelphia 2009), Peter Lowry (Portland 2010) and John Thorrington (Vancouver 2010).

December 10, 2014 - Trade Window opens at the end of Expansion Draft

Fun ensues? At least until the Trade Window closes again on December 11 at 4 pm CT.

December 10, 2014 – MLS Waiver Draft

The Waiver Draft follows the Expansion Draft. This is held for players who are out of contract or players whose options weren’t exercised and are ineligible for the Re-Entry Draft (usually because of age or not enough years in the league).

December 12, 2014 - MLS Re-Entry Draft, Phase One

Players made available in the Re-Entry Process have to fall into one of three groups designated by MLS and based on number of years in the league as well as current age.

The three groups:

1.       Players at least 23 years old, have played in MLS three years and whose options weren’t exercised

2.       Players at least 25 years old, have played at least four years in MLS and are out of contract

3.       Players at least 30 years old, have played at least eight years in MLS and are out of contract

Teams selecting players in Phase One must take said player at their previous year’s salary or in the case of category #3, make a five percent increase on the previous year's salary.

A list of players that are made available for the Re-Entry Draft will be published by the league in the days leading up to the event.

December 12 – Trade Window opens again

Closes December 17 at 10am CT

December 18, 2014 - MLS Re-entry Draft, Phase Two

Features players that weren’t selected in Stage One of Re-Entry. This draft typically sees more action because player and selecting club are allowed to negotiate a new salary.

Fire players selected through Re-Entry: Cory Gibbs (2010; Phase Two), Kheli Dube (2011; Phase Two), Maicon Santos (2012; Phase One)

Selected in the 2010 Re-Entry Draft, Cory Gibbs was the club's 2011 Defender of the Year

Players that pass through both phases of Re-Entry are considered free agents and available to any club that comes calling.

Everyone then gets a month-long break from Drafts until the SuperDraft returns in Philadelphia on January 15.