Big changes ahead for Sporting Kansas City aka the Kansas City Wizards...
It was announced Friday that former face of the franchise, Jimmy Conrad, will be available in Wednesday’s re-entry draft. After being passed over by Vancouver and Portland in the expansion draft a week or two ago, Sporting KC did not offer him a new contract. Is SKC now slow-playing Jimmy, betting that other teams will not want to take a chance on an aging center back with a high salary no longer commensurate with his abilities?
I hope so.
It is the best (maybe only) play for SKC.
If another team wants to snap Jimmy up in the re-entry draft, they have to offer him a contract based on his age and years of MLS experience, both of which are substantial. If Jimmy were to refuse the offer, that team then holds Conrad’s rights, and could shop those rights around (possibly back to SKC?).
Either way SKC is making the right move with Conrad.
At this point, getting Jimmy on the cheap is the only way to go. He can provide the defense with continuity and leadership, even if his playing time is diminished in favor of a new acquisition. He can help teach the less experienced players who are not familiar with Peter Vermes’ high pressure system. And he can probably still be an effective player in small doses.
But remember, the field at the new stadium will be more spacious than the one they’ve called home the last few years at Community America Ballpark, and if legs are an issue, that weakness probably gets magnified on the larger surface.
Here’s to hoping that the recent scouting trip to Trinidad by Vermes and other SKC brass turns up a young, promising defender, who doesn’t mind the frigid, early season Kansas City weather.
If so, it matters even less if Conrad stays or goes.