Opinion (January 13, 2017) – The LA Galaxy have traded 29-year-old defender A.J. DeLaGarza to the Houston Dynamo. They have received $125,000 of General Allocation Money and $50,000 of Targeted Allocation Money. So other than the fact that the Galaxy traded away possibly their best outside back and a fan favorite, what does this mean for him and the club?
LA Galaxy Trade DeLaGarza: Terrible Move Or Making Room For Impact TAM Player?
DeLaGarza is a huge loss to the Galaxy locker room. He’s the longest tenured player for the club. He’s spent his entire eight year career in LA. He played over 200 matches with the Galaxy. He’s a champion, winning three MLS Cups and two Supporter’s Shields. He was a fan favorite (#LucaKnowsHeart) and a versatile Iron Man of Major League Soccer. He is a glue player and veteran that championship teams are made of. He will be missed.
So Ashley Cole And Robbie Rogers Have No Pressure And No Experienced Back Ups:
The Galaxy now have only six defenders on the roster: Ashley Cole, Robbie Rogers, Dave Romney, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, and Hugo Arellano.
Van Damme and Steres are center backs. Pending an unlikely big center back signing, Steres isn’t moving positions in 2017. Cole and Rogers are the obvious starters right now. They played 2,227 and 1,655 minutes in the regular season in 2016.
After that, Dave Romney has played 15 total games in MLS. Then there’s Homegrown Hugo Arellano, who the Galaxy signed Friday. He spent 2016 with LA Galaxy II. The 18-year-old has been capped with the U.S. Men’s National Team at the U-17 and U-20 level.
Last year, if Cole or Rogers were unable to play, DeLaGarza was able to step in seamlessly. Now if one of them goes down, you have a teenager and a second year MLS player to back them up.
With one trade, the Galaxy went from having some of the best and most diverse full back depth in the league to some of the weakest. Furthermore, their two starting full backs now have almost no competition for playing time. Complacency could set in as a result.
I do like the Arellano signing as part of the developing youth movement the Galaxy are implementing. That said, if giving him a roster spot required trading DeLaGarza, that’s a bad move.
Rogers vs. DeLaGarza Debate
There was a growing discontent down the stretch this season from fans about Rogers starting over DeLaGarza. When diving into the defensive analytics, he’s not as good as DeLaGarza or Cole. The argument for him is that he brings so much to the game offensively. Now, Rogers played fewer minutes than DeLaGarza, and had one goal and two assists. DeLaGarza did not register a goal or an assist in 2016.
Even with that, the Galaxy still average a lower goals for than they do when DeLaGarza is on the field. The team’s goals against and points for is also poorer when Rogers is starting compared to DeLaGarza. Rogers was also less healthy than his former teammate in 2016.
In 2016, Cole had a base salary of $300,000. DeLaGarza was paid $225,000. Rogers had a base salary of $220,000. So, Rogers and DeLaGarza get paid roughly the same amount. DeLaGarza is healthier, more defensively sound, more versatile, and only slightly less offensively capable. And he was the one who got traded.
What The Galaxy Will Use The Money For
The Galaxy did get a solid chunk of change for trading DeLaGarza. In general, the team is trending younger and thus cheaper. They’ve freed up over $200,000 of cap space and gotten $175,000 in total allocation money. With MLS already upping the TAM amounts, the Galaxy have the capacity to make several sub $1 million moves (similar to Jelle Van Damme).
The Galaxy have lots of rumors swirling, with most of them being about midfielders. This trade probably doesn’t help with the signing of Jonathan dos Santos due to his expected transfer fee and salary. It could mean the difference in signing one of the other European based players they’ve been rumored with.
Then there’s the negotiations with Jermaine Jones. Pending the salary for Jones, this could be a good signing or a huge risk. If this trade for DeLaGarza is the difference between the Galaxy getting and not getting Jones, it’s probably a huge risk. If that move was necessitated by giving Jones a TAM or DP contract, it’s a terrible move.
Furthermore, it would completely go against the new ethos the club appears to be under.
We’ll have to wait and see. If the Galaxy get an impact midfielder, it might be worth it. If it’s so they can boost up a deal for Jermaine Jones, it’s probably a terrible decision.