Friday, January 29, 2010

Orozco to Philly: A Bad Deal for the Red Bulls?

Coming out of MLS Superdraft, the Red Bulls held the #1 allocation slot, meaning that the club would have first dibs on any returning USMNT players. The Red Bulls' position atop the allocation heap was the result of a deal that Peter Nowak and the Philadelphia Union made on the eve of the draft to send its #1 allocation slot to DC United in return for Fred, DC's #7 pick in the first round of the draft and a substantial amount of allocation money (believed to be more than $200,000).

More than a few jaws dropped when it was revealed what DC was forced to give up in return for Perkins' rights, and the transaction set the bar high for the future worth of the #1 allocation place, something Metrofantic examined in detail. If Philly was able to get such a boatload of goodies for Perkins' rights then the Red Bulls - as the new holders of the #1 allocation slot - were sitting on top of a very valuable commodity. Right?

Today we got the chance to find out just how much the Red Bulls' braintrust thought that top allocation place was worth when they traded it away to Philadelphia for the rights to loan returning USMNT fringe player Michael Orozco from San Luis of the Mexican Primera División. Instead of hitting a Philly-like jackpot, however, the Red Bulls settled for a simple allocation. So did they come up lemons by only taking cash? Given the general lack of transparency when it comes to MLS allocations it's impossible to say for sure, but if the club failed to get a substantial chunk of change (on the order of $300,000 to $400,000) they certainly seem to have gotten the short end of the stick this time.

Even if the allocation was substantial, there remains the question of how the money will be used. Will Erik Solér use the new infusion of cash to help fund the addition of apparently serviceable but underwhelming mid to lower tier European players such as Joel Lindpere and Oka Nikolov, or will it be used to offer a more enticing deal to RBNY Academy product Juan Agudelo, who is by most accounts the most promising player in the club's youth system? Could the funds be used to facilitate a return of Dave van den Bergh to New York or help offset the early release of Thierry Henry from his contract at Barcelona?

We should have answers to all these questions fairly soon, as Solér and Hans Backe continue to reshape the team, but in the meantime we are left to wonder if they are making the best use and getting maximum value from the assets they have at their disposal. Is this another one to add to the long list of stupid front office decisions by the most dysfunctional MLS franchise, or is Red Bull rolling in a ton of allocation cash that they will deploy wisely?
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