The Union are now the center of so many MLS story lines, and we're trying to digest it all. Roger Torres and Gilberto were quietly removed from the roster. Jeff Parke was traded to D.C. United for a much younger (and less expensive) defender in Ethan White. The much-needed upgrade at midfielder came in the form of Argentine winger Cristian Maidana, whose YouTube "highlight" video shows him missing shots, but fans are still stoked. Speaking of Stoke, the Union are continuing to negotiate with MLS and Maurice Edu to bring the EPL midfielder to Philadelphia. And the Union traded up in the MLS SuperDraft to grab a potential goalkeeping star in Andre Blake. Oh, and the Union were also rumored to be after Sochaux midfielder Vincent Nogueira. So what does this mean for Union finances?
The good news is that most of these moves improved the salary position of the team. In fact they're pretty much where they started from a few weeks back, which means there is likely plenty more activity yet to come even if Edu gets signed before the transfer window closes January 31st. Here is how the current roster plays out. Remember only the first 20 roster spots count against the $3.1M MLS salary budget.
|Current Roster||2013 Base Salary||2013 Guaranteed Compenstion|
|*Currently listed as inactive|
|** Homegrown Player|
|^ Generation Adidas player|
|! Designated Player - estimated DP hit in 2014|
Couple of quick notes here. We don't know what Maidana will get paid yet but we know he is a DP, so I've added just the estimated budget hit for 2014. The numbers for Blake are based on what last year's #1 pick earned in 2013. But since Blake is a Generation Adidas player his salary will not count against the salary budget. The 15th pick in last year's draft earned the league minimum so I assume Ribeiro will get the same (although I included that salary in the potential raise scenario below).
Here is a table that shows the range of possibilities as it relates to the Union budget situation. We don't know two things, how much the average 2013 player is going to get a raise in 2014. And we don't exactly know the budget number that each player counts against the cap. I've run a 5% raise scenario and a 20% raise scenario (the average given in 2013). I've also bracketed the difference between base salary and guaranteed salary.
|5% Raise||20% Raise|
Rather than look at a range like last time, let's draw a line in the sand. My hunch says that the raises are closer to 20% than they are to 5% and that the budget hit is closer to the guaranteed number than the base. I'm going to assume 15% raises and 75% of the cost between the base and guaranteed salary. Assuming that, the Union have $475K yet to spend under the salary budget. That means they could afford Edu at a DP contract. But after that they would only have about $140K to spend. Which means a spot for Nogueira may not be feasible without another salary cutting move. There's still enough for a solid producer or two. The Union currently only have 3 roster spots left, so this is a great spot to be in from a salary perspective.