Colorado Rapids waive Joe Mason, sign Giles Barnes, but more is needed

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ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 19: Orlando City SC forward Giles Barnes (14) kicks the ball during the MLS soccer match between Orlando City SC and Columbus Crew FC on August 19, 2017 at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando FL. (Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (July 13, 2018) – Earlier this week, the Colorado Rapids waived forward Joe Mason. He cleared waivers and is headed back to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Rapids then signed longtime MLS forward Giles Barnes.

Colorado Rapids waive Joe Mason, sign Giles Barnes, but more is needed

The Rapids are the second worst team in the Western Conference right now. Short of a massive comeback, they will miss the playoffs in 2018. With the summer transfer window opening this past Tuesday, the Rapids have already made two moves. Let’s take a look at what made the Mason and Barnes moves happen and what they mean for the club.

Mason was effective in limited time but not part of the future:

Mason came to the Rapids on a one-year loan deal from Wolves, who got promoted to the English Premier League earlier this year. There is a precedent to suggest that the clubs had agreed upon a transfer fee should the Rapids want to obtain his rights at the end of the loan deal.

On a per 90-minute basis, Joe Mason wasn’t too shabby for Colorado. Three goals in 758 minutes isn’t bad with half of his 14 appearances coming off the bench. At the time of his departure, he was second in scoring on the team, behind only Dominique Badji.

This move indicated that the Rapids already knew they weren’t going to make a play for him long-term in 2019. Mason’s been consistent throughout his career that he wants to play regularly (a belief that has facilitated several loan spells throughout his career in England). The 27-year-old didn’t make a single appearance in the Championship last season for Wolves.

It’s clear he wasn’t going to be a part of the promoted side’s plans once returning from his loan to MLS. This is a move that makes sense for all three parties involved:

Mason can look for a move to play regularly in the 2018-19 season with the European transfer window open. Wolves can possibly get a transfer fee for him and then spend that money during the window on a player who will actually play regularly in the EPL. The Rapids free up some TAM that would have been spent on Mason’s salary. They also free up an international roster spot.

Giles Barnes takes Mason’s place:

Earlier today, the Rapids announced the singing of Giles Barnes, who previously played for Houston Dynamo, Orlando City SC, and Vancouver Whitecaps. Most recently, he had been with Club Leon in Liga MX, but made only three appearances in six months. Scoring no goals.

Barnes is a proven but depreciating asset in this league. He’s never really been the straw that stirs the drink offensively. He’s got a bit more skill than most of the other forwards on the Rapids, similar to what Mason was able to bring.

That said, he’s trending in the wrong direction and will turn 30-years-old next month.

Transaction: Colorado Rapids have acquired forward Giles Barnes from Club León on a six-month deal with a club option for 2019.

Full name: Giles Barnes
Position: Forward
Born: 08/05/1988 (29 years old)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 181 lbs.
Last Club: Club León
Hometown: London, England
Birthplace: London, England

What this means for the rest of the transfer window:

The club confirmed to Last Word on Soccer that Barnes will not take up an international roster spot. He was not acquired with TAM or a DP slot. He most likely came on a free transfer too. These two moves effectively turned into a trade of sorts for the Rapids: Joe Mason for some cap relief, and international slot, and a similar player who can do a job in MLS.

That said, the Rapids have a number of issues and holes to fill, several of which should be addressed in this transfer window. I’ve been saying for months that a No. 10/underneath striker is needed to help create chances from the middle of the field. Mason wasn’t bad at that. Barnes could do that as well, but not at the same rate or quality. And Mason’s production wasn’t enough to rectify this team.

The Rapids are probably taking a flyer on Barnes to see what they can get out of trading him in the off-season. They got out from under a contract for a player who wasn’t a part of the future. In doing so, they’ve given themselves room to work in the transfer window.

That said, Barnes is a downgrade from Mason and the Rapids will need to make a move to fill that loss and other gaps to set themselves up for success going forward. They largely failed at that last summer. They’ll have to do better in the coming weeks.

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