For the SB Nation Mock Expansion Draft I chose to protect Shea Salinas because I believe his versatility and speed are invaluable to the Philadelphia Union. Coach Piotr Nowak and his staff apparently think otherwise because they chose to leave him off of the official Union protection list. If I had taken the same approach, how would that have affected the outcome of the SB Nation mock draft?
Here's Geoff Gibson of Chopping Timber's take on an unprotected Shea Salinas (Gibson selected for the Portland Timbers in the SB Nation mock draft):
Tough call. Salinas is a great player and has seemingly served Philly well as a substitute. In those respects I'd love to have him on the team. He's talented, young and cheap. I also recognized that both Miglioranzi and Fred were left unprotected, two players who fill similar roles and have more experience, but are also more expensive. Would I pick Salinas over the other two, or any of them at all? Good question. All I can say is I could easily see Salinas as taking my Nimo spot.
It's a tough call for Gibson but what is telling is that he'd be willing to not take Alex Nimo if Salinas was available. Nimo has spent the past two years on loan to the Timbers, from Real Salt Lake, and is expected to be selected by the Timbers in the expansion draft.
Benjamin Massey, of SB Nation's Vancouver Whitecaps blog 86 Forever, said the following on the unprotected Salinas:
If all that had changed was the player Philadelphia had exposed, then Shea Salinas probably wouldn't have been my first choice out of the Union even had he been available. I'm a big Cristian Arrieta fan and would probably have taken Arrieta's veteran savvy and leadership over Salinas's athleticism and potential. However, this was thrown into disarray when the New York Red Bulls traded Jeremy Hall to the Portland Timbers. I had been counting on Hall to be a useful, young, promising utility fullback: with him gone, my expansion draft lineup is awfully thin at fullback. A combination of Salinas being available and the Hall trade means that I probably would have taken Salinas given the chance.
Massey had selected Arrieta in the mock draft, much to my liking, and that allowed Andrew Jacobson to become protected. With the Red Bulls sending Hall to the Timbers, Massey's mock draft was thrown into disarray and now Salinas' versatility would find itself invaluable to Massey if the draft was to be redone today.
Neither Gibson or Massey give Union fans much hope, unfortunately. Salinas made himself into a fan favorite with his speed, wit and never give up attitude. Not even a broken fibula kept him from making an impact on the Union as he returned seemingly with the same physical ability as before the injury.
For all those that hope that Salinas will stay on the Union should also hope that a different Union player is selected instead of Salinas. If this situation was to occur then the Union are able to protect a twelfth player. Whether or not it would be Salinas or Andrew Jacobson (or someone else) won't be known until the expansion draft happens.