The MLS playoffs gets back underway this weekend with the second leg of the conference finals involving Sporting Kansas City, Houston Dynamo, Real Salt Lake, and Portland Timbers. For the rest of the teams around the league the offseason is already underway and that means gearing up for the wide variety of different drafts that the league loves to hold.
The first draft on the schedule is the waiver draft which is set for Monday, November 25th. Last year the drafts also took place before the end of the playoffs and was conducted via conference call at 3:30 eastern with teams announcing the results on their own after the draft. It was a look of twitter updates saying that a certain club decided not to select anyone as the only selection in 2012 was made by Real Salt Lake as they claimed Cole Grossman.
The draft is conducted in reverse order of league finish including playoff results. That would mean Toronto FC having the third selection behind D.C. United and Chivas USA should they chose to actually use it. The list of potential players in the draft will likely come out on Monday a few hours prior to the draft as it did last year.
With the draft itself likely to be a bit of a non-event once again the more interesting part might just be who's name winds up on the list. In 2012 there was no shortage of Toronto FC rejects up for grabs with Dicoy Williams, Oscar Cordon, Nicholas Lindsay, and Keith Makabuya all being available.
This offseason has been quiet so far this year as only the Columbus Crew and DC United have made announcements about players who will not be back next season. Teams do not have to make any moves prior to the waiver draft but it is likely that more clubs will announce some players that will not be returning in the coming days. Players who are out of contract or did not have their options picked up will either be eligible for the waiver draft or the Re-entry draft.
In 2012 a total of 42 players were eligible for the waiver draft. The others went into the Re-entry draft if they met the following eligibility requirements:
- Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years experience in MLS whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2014).
- Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available for at least their 2013 salary).
- Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2013 salary).
In the past, the Re-entry draft has had more talent to offer than the waiver draft so it would be wise to not expect much on Monday afternoon other than getting the first picture of which players are going to be released by the club's not in the playoffs.