Player moves in any sport have lasting consequences, both good and bad. And that doesn't begin to cover how each move impacts moves that never happen as a result of moves that did happen. Revisionist history gets complicated and difficult to keep straight very quickly. Often the pluses and minuses of a move can take years to play out. Here is a review of all the player moves the Philadelphia Union have made and where they stand currently. This is not to suggest the grades are final. They can and will certainly change.
Because not all moves have the same impact I have rated each move on importance from 1 to 5. The grade is a typical school grading scale. This is part one which covers the 2014 season and preseason moves.
1. Traded Allocation Money to move up 1 spot to #1 for G Andre Blake
Impact: Given Steve Birnbaum, Christian Dean and Tesho Akindele were taken after Blake, and Blake has played just one MLS game and won't play much this year, this move has pretty much been a disaster so far. Move importance 4 - Current Grade: D
2. Traded down from #6 to #15 (two steps) and received Allocation Money and Pedro Ribeiro
Impact: Akindele went sixth and has far more upside than Ribiero. It's unlikely the Union would have left Akindele unprotected in the expansion draft as well so it's a player they'd still have. Move importance 3 - Current Grade: C
3. Second round draft picks of Kevin Cope and Robbie Derschang -
Impact: Neither player made the team but that's not unheard of for Second Round picks. Move importance 2 - Current Grade: B-
4. Third round draft pick Richie Marquez
Impact: Richie made the roster in his second season and has proven to be a solid center back so far in 2015. Move importance 1 - Current Grade: A
5. Trade Jeff Parke for Ethan White and a higher spot in the Allocation order to sign Maurice Edu
Impact: Parke was a shell of his former self in 2014, and Ethan White has turned out to be serviceable and eats up starter minutes - even if he's not spectacular. Mo Edu is now the face of the franchise and is a solid leadership presence. Although you have to question whether or not Edu is worth his salary given the position he plays. Move importance 5 - Current Grade: B
6. Sign Cristian Maidana to DP contract
Impact: Maidana is one of the most important players on the Union roster. He's had trouble staying healthy but when he plays he can stir up offense on the counterattack. Move importance 4 - Current Grade A-
7. Sign Vincent Nogueira
Impact: The fact that this was not a DP deal was pretty impressive and Nogueira continues to be the most used Union player on the pitch. And he delivers. Move importance 4 - Current Grade A
8. Trade Jack McInerney for Andrew Wenger
Impact: Jack McInerney was not going to be the answer and doesn't seem to be growing into a premier forward, but he was a sought after asset when this trade went down. Wenger has been mostly poor for the Union and he's an expensive winger. The Union should have gotten more value for Jack McInerney. On the positive side the Jack Mac trade did force the Union to acquire forwards Fernando Aristeguieta and CJ Sapong for the 2015 season. Move importance 4 - Current Grade: C+
This trade was analyzed earlier this year and the grade was more favorable here.
2014 Summer Transfer
9. Sign Rais M'Bolhi to DP (er, not DP?) contract (further impact Zac MacMath loaned to Colorado)
Impact: While Rais has an excellent resume, his tenure with the Union was a complete disaster and he is currently still one of the highest paid goaltenders in the league. Add to the fact that the Union had a young goalkeeper in Zac MacMath and a recently drafted #1 pick in Andre Blake and this move is a misuse of resources. This transaction will be discussed for a long time and there is much more to say but for now... Move importance 4 - Current Grade: F
10. Sign Carlos Valdes to multiyear deal
Impact: Valdes was not quite his former self in 2014, however he brought much needed grit to the back line. But either the Union thought he was too expensive or Valdes wanted to go back to South America. In the end this was a colossal waste of time and resources for the impact on the pitch. Move importance 4 - Grade: B-
Taking the weighted average of these ten moves I give the Union a 2.4 or a C+ grade for their moves for the 2014 season.
Would you grade these moves differently?