The new of the personnel decisions announced by the Sounders today are outlined in the post below.
Here’s is some amplification from a phone interview with general manager Garth Lagerwey:
Could some of the players whose contracts were declined end up remaining with Sounders) Yes. I would say that the majority will not, but certainly the door remains open in a couple of cases.
Likely at a lower cost) Yep, that’s right.
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These moves in relation to free agent and re-entry drafts next week) Dec. 1 is the driver on contract options, and under the CBA we have to legally notify all the players as to whether or not their options are going to be exercised. So that’s the timing driver. There’s a transaction embargo until after MLS Cup for the same reason all the league’s do it: So there’s nothing to distract from the big event – and rightfully that should be everybody’s focus this week. But next week, yeah, you’re going to see some transactions league-wide. You’re going to see some movement not only in reentry, but I think as we go through our first round of free agency there are going to be a lot of irons in the fire. There’s a board of governors’ meeting this weekend where you’ll see some other guidelines and parameters discussed and potentially solidified into the 2016 season. So yes, I think we’re going to get some more information even by early next week, which is why we try to get some of this logistical stuff out of the way this week.
If encouraged that Andy Rose and Andy Craven likely to re-sign) I don’t know. The lawyer in me is always going to be cautious. The guys are out of contract and we’ve made them offers. I’d like to be optimistic, but I can’t give you any kind of guarantees.
Still hoping to get younger and more athletic) I’m not ideological. In the playoffs we started nine guys who were 29 years of age and older. And what I would say is that’s not sustainable and we have to work on our succession planning at a couple of those positions – a fancy word for saying we need to be developing replacements for those players long-term. Am I opposed to signing a player because they’re over the age of 28? No, I can’t say I am. But as a group, we have to have a sustainable model, and we can’t put ourselves in a position where some year we have to replace seven or eight starters because everybody gets old at the same time. … Individual decisions, I think you have flexibility on. But we have to move the group broadly speaking in this younger, more athletic direction. The general trend here is that our top-line guys – the guys who are starting playoff games – I think most of those guys if not all of them will be back. And I think you’re talking about looking at our depth and saying what’s our succession planning? Are these guys who are in some of these backup roles or these part-time playing roles, are they capable of being starters for our team in the next one to two years – because given the age of our first group, that’s what we need to plan for.
Frei and Lyon as keepers) I’m actually OK with it. I think Charlie has done a great job for us. Tyler Miller has been with us with S2. I’m hopeful that he is going to compete for a job in camp next year as well. So I think if we had Stefan Frei coming off of what for me was the best season of his career – I thought he should have been at the very least a goalkeeper of the year finalist. To me he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the league. I think paring him – and by goalkeepers’ standards Stef is not old … and so I like the idea of pairing Stef with some younger goalkeepers who we believe have potential long-term and then hopefully we can get those guys some experience and have a backup plan in case something happens to Stef.
If trade(s) imminent) By league rules, trades cannot happen (until Monday, after MLS Cup). … (But) we’re going to consider all the avenues as to how to make our team better.
Anything else fans should know) We have a number of these guys who have been really great members of the organization for a long time, and I just want to express my thanks and my gratitude and my appreciation. If some of these guys choose not to come back next year, I get it. A number of them have provided great service to this organization for a long time, and they’re the roots, the foundation of why the organization has had on-the-field success and I’m really thankful that these guys have given so much for the club.
If these moves reflect consensus of GM, coach and ownership) Yep. Very comfortable in saying that. (But) the one qualifier to add is that ultimately the buck stops with me. If it doesn’t work out it’s my fault, and if it works out well then hopefully the whole group benefits from that. But player transactions fall on my desk, and I don’t mean to dodge any responsibility for that.