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Rating The Columbus Crew Offseason Moves

 Posted by on January 13, 2014 at 9:57 pm  Blogs/Media, Columbus Crew, MLS
Jan 132014

The most pivotal offseason in the history of the Columbus Crew continues to intrigue.

On Monday the Crew sent their 4th overall pick in Thursday’s MLS Superdraft (and some allocation money) to New England in exchange for the rights to US Men’s National Team defender Michael Parkhurst,who has since signed a deal with the team. It’s the latest in a long line moves that continues to make over the Crew roster heading into the 2014 season.

So how do the major moves stack up so far?

Trading For Michael Parkhurst: 9/10

Let’s the start with the most recent move!

I love it! Greg Berhalter has given off the impression he’s not a huge fan of the draft and he only reaffirmed that notion by quickly dealing away the 4th overall pick for Michael Parkhurst. The 29 year old American defender had a very prosperous career in Denmark where he played he always found himself in the starting line, including 10 UEFA Champions League appearances. Parkhurst has played primarily as a right back with the USMNT, but he’s also been a center back and even a hold midfielder at times throughout his career in Europe.

Parkhurst brings a ton of veteran experience to a team that has already cut ties with Danny O’Rourke and sent Chad Marshall packing (more on that in a minute). You worry about injuries, especially with an older player you’re (reportedly) paying $300K +, but it’s still a brilliant bit of business by Berhalter.

Trading Chad Marshall To Seattle (For Allocation Money And A Future 3rd Round Pick): 7/10

I don’t score this move higher because allocation money is essentially Monopoly money and no one has any idea just how much a given team has at a given moment in time.

Look, it sucks to cut ties with Marshall. The Columbus Crew don’t have much to hang their hats on in their 20 year history. In today’s world of modern sports, it was nice to be able to say a player as consistently excellent as Marshall spent his entire career with one team: Our Team. But the fact of the matter is Marshall was on the down side of his career and the team saw an opportunity to get SOME money for him; money that has probably made its way into Parkhurst’s deal. At this point I’d rate Parkhurst slightly higher than Marshall, so it all works out in the end.

Re-Signing Dominic Oduro: 5/10

I’m on record saying Oduro will wind up scoring fewer goals this season than last. He’s gone from one team to the next throughout his MLS career and the 2013 season was his second highest goal total ever. He’s a mercenary who just came out of a contract year; I don’t expect much from him. The money being spent to re-sign him could’ve been spent on a much more consistent striker. Oduro is all style and no substance as far as I’m concerned.

Re-Signing Jairo Arrieta: 7/10

Speaking of more consistent strikers, I rate Arrieta higher than Oduro. He has a much better first touch, he makes more intelligent runs, and he’s a much more clinical finisher. He works harder and he’ll be playing for a spot on the plane to Brazil this summer with Costa Rica. Assuming he is the slightest bit smarter than Robert Warzycha, Berhalter won’t just drop Arrieta from the lineup because he’s been on international duty. Arrieta will pay him back in kind.

Trading Andy Gruenebaum For A Future 2nd Round Pick, Trading A Current 2nd Round Pick For Steve Clark: 6/10

I’m not concerned about losing Gruenebaum so much as getting a 2016 (!) 2nd round pick in return for a goalkeeper capable of starting for any MLS team. But the Crew dealt a meaningless draft pick of their own to get the rights to Steve Clark, a guy capable of pushing Matt Lampson for the starting job. I’m not a huge fan of the highlight reel for Clark (he parries wayyyy too much), but between him and Lampson the goalkeeper position is now taken care of for the next few years.

Trading For Chicago Midfielder Daniel Paladini: 7/10

Another trade involving (you guessed it) draft picks! I like the Paladini signing because he seems to be a solid box-to-box midfielder; the kind of player the Crew have been lacking since Brian Carroll departed for Philadelphia. He’s also an MLS veteran, so the young core that Berhalter has kept around has someone to look up to.

Signing Homegrown Players Matt Wiet (Defender), Ross Friedman (Defender), Matt Walker (Midfielder): 5/10

I have absolutely no problem filling out the roster with Homegrown guys. The Crew youth system has given us Ben Speas, Wil Trapp, and Matt Lampson. But these guys could wind up playing in Dayton this season and therefore they’re kind of a waste. Hopefully Berhalter is serious about his grand plans for the academy, but in the meantime Columbus isn’t exactly the Ajax of MLS.

Signing Defender Waylon Francis: 7/10

Based on his (limited) highlight reel, I think Francis is actually a bit of fresh air. Berhalter says he wants his fullbacks overlapping and getting involved in the attack and Francis definitely has pace and vision. I think he’s good enough to start right away and he probably comes in on the cheap.

*Bonus…Naming Greg Berhalter Head Coach/Technical Director: 8/10*

I was hoping the Crew would hire someone who would make significant changes this offseason and Berhalter has made some pretty significant moves. I like that he’s willing to flip draft picks for proven commodities and he does seem to have a bit of a plan in place. There are some great pieces in place and he’s kept young, promising guys like Justin Meram and Ben Speas around. Re-signing Oduro doesn’t have me thrilled, but he did bring back Arrieta and he’s given us a proven USMNT veteran defender. He also seems genuinely interested in upgrading the academy system.

More on expectations for Berhalter this season in a bit, but for now most of his offseason moves leave me feeling confident going into the preseason.


Adam Uthe

VP of Content Development for GFT and proud supporter of Columbus Crew (MLS) and Liverpool FC (EPL). @AUtheGFT

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