Kirk out

This could have been worse. This was nearly a post about uniform colors that would have taken many paragraphs, plus pictures and leeched images, to make two points:

(1) Half the teams in the league use the exact same shade of navy; a slightly different half use identical shades of red.

(2) When I was growing up, I thought the Chicago Bears and New York Yankees played in black.

Sound fascinating? Even I didn't think so.

Instead, here's another post about DC United rooking the opposition thanks to the league's reserve clause. I suppose the money the world's last pre-Bosman, pre-Curt Flood league saved under the salary cap makes up for what individual teams have to give away to obtain "rights" to players. See, it only looks as if the Rapids and the Galaxy sent big fat gifts to DC United in exchange for players DC wasn't interested in. But just imagine what those teams would have paid to Gomez and Vanney otherwise!

("Wait, couldn't Gomez simply have left the country and looked elsewhere if he felt like it? And how much more was Vanney really gonna get as a 'free agent'?")

Yup! The system works!

Anyway, there are scenarios where the Galaxy weren't completely rooked by sending over anything more than practice gear with the old logo:

(1) Quavas Kirk isn't that good.

Pro: LA's seen him for three years now. His playing time went way down from 2006 to 2007, and he was ineffective for big stretches of both seasons.

Con: What is he, eighteen? Pretty early to give up on a guy, and he's going to a club that pretty much invented playing young guys. Kirk says he's 100% healthy now, too, after fighting injuries last year. You really have to buy into Ruud Gullit setting a high standard for the Galaxy to think this was a move purely based on talent.

(2) Quavas Kirk was overpaid for what he contributed. ($75,000 base, $110,000 guaranteed.)

Pro: Unlike, to pick an example entirely at random, Ty Harden, Kirk made more money last year than I did. He will again this year, unless my new wealth management system, Get Rich Quick By Knocking Over Liquor Stores, hits a snag. The corollary to starters need to make more money is that guys who make lots of money need to start.

Con: Gosh, look how concerned DC United is about how much Kirk makes. Are you looking? Quick, go look. Did you look? Wasn't that something?

(3) Pure salary cap dump.

Pro: Cannon, Albright, now Kirk. FILF costs money, and pimping ain't easy. (And LA might not even be finished with the fire sale. The clock is ticking on Peter Vagenas.)

Con: DC has Gallardo, and another DP spot (we think. Did we ever get to the bottom of that? We'll find out down the road, I suppose). DC lost a bunch of its middle class as well, what with Boswell and Carroll and Pickens leaving. The premise that DC United is better at squeezing talent in under the cap, under any rules, is pretty easy to believe at this point.

(4) Harden left to do good works, so the Galaxy took the opportunity to get a cheap backup.

Pro: No one really thinks Babayaro and Xavier are both going to start 28 games, or anything like it. Even though Harden looked to see less playing time than last year, he was sure going to see a lot. That's a big hole to fill, and the Galaxy jumped at the chance to sign a guy with league experience. After all, Chris Klein was the team MVP last year.

Con: Everyone in the universe thinks the Galaxy overpaid for Klein, as well. Oh, yeah, good planning on that Albright deal, especially if the concern was depth in defense.

Prognosis: Kirk would have to contribute absolutely nothing to DC in order for this trade to look good outside RFK.

Long-term prognosis: That teams in the 21st century anywhere are paying clubs for out-of-contract players is laughable. MLS may believe it's holding down salaries, and it's easy to understand how the league would want to avoid intramural bidding wars over players. But market value for MLS players is determined outside the United States, for the most part, and only the most resolute determination to convert the league into the new NASL will change that. There has to be a middle ground between the possibility of (say) Luis Figo playing New York Red Bulls against the Galaxy, and teams having to pay ransom money to acquire guys like Greg Vanney. Whether MLS and MLSPU can find such a middle ground will be, as they say, a very interesting question.