Editorial (November 27, 2018) – Yesterday, the LA Galaxy announced their decisions regarding 2019 player contract roster options. Four players had their contract options exercised by a front office with no General Manager or Head Coach in place.
Analyzing the LA Galaxy Contract Option Decisions
So, here’s what happened:
Players who’s contract options were picked up for 2019: midfielder Sebastian Lletget, defender Daniel Steres, midfielder Bradford Jamieson IV and goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg.
Players who’s contract options were not picked up for 2019: defender Michael Ciani, goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre, forward Ariel Lassiter, defender Sheanon Williams, defender Ashley Cole, defender Rolf Feltscher, midfielder Baggio Husidic and midfielder Servando Carrasco.
The Galaxy are currently negotiating with midfielder Chris Pontius, defender Dave Romney and midfielder Emmanuel Boateng, who are all out of contract going into next season.
As it stands, the Galaxy have 16 players on the roster for next season.
GOALKEEPERS (2): David Bingham, Justin Vom Steeg
DEFENDERS (4): Jorgen Skjelvik, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Hugo Arellano, Daniel Steres
MIDFIELDERS (6): Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Perry Kitchen, João Pedro, Sebastian Lletget, Bradford Jamieson IV
FORWARDS (4): Zlatan Ibrahimović, Ola Kamara, Giovani dos Santos, Efrain Alvarez
Analyzing who was brought back:
The four players with contract options picked up are pretty straight forward. Coming off his injury, Lletget is a starting midfielder on this team. Steres is at worst a bench option for the defense. Jamieson appears to be over his concussion scare. He and Vom Steeg are still young. Other than Lletget, this group is inexpensive. All are no-brainer decisions. Whether they should be regulars in the lineup other than Lletget is another question for another article.
Analyzing who will not be returning:
Other than Lassiter and maybe Feltscher, all of these decisions make sense. This list includes lots of the old dead weight on the roster. At this point in their careers, Husidic and Carrasco are at best budget MLS midfielders who are the third midfielder off the bench. Ashley Cole was a good soldier and valiant captain in 2018 but he’s not worth the cost anymore.
Lassiter surprised me if for no other reason that he’s 24-years-old and could easily sent to LA Galaxy II if needed. He only got seven appearances and 94 minutes 2018. For the league minimum salary, I would have taken a flyer on him for next year to see if he could develop more. The Galaxy are really showing their lack of commitment to young talent.
Feltscher’s season was derailed by a pectoral muscle injury that kept him out for months. He showed some good flashes offensively, but like every other Galaxy defender, was wildly inconsistent and prone to goal-surrendering blunders.
International players generally improve in their second year in the league. With a total compensation of $270,000, I would have given him a shot to get better and be a serviceable starting MLS right back.
The three players currently out of contract are all serviceable MLS players and the Galaxy should work to bring them back at reasonable prices. Romney will probably be cheap. I have to think Father Time is catching up to Pontius, so the Galaxy shouldn’t offer him a contract with a lot of term. A short (one year guaranteed, one year club option) with performance incentives would be ideal.
At $130,000, Emma Boateng is a bargain. Even with a raise, he’s still good value under the current MLS salary budget. Letting him walk for free would be poor asset management by the Galaxy.
Last Word: The Real Problem Here
The Galaxy aren’t in a bad place as far as turnover is concerned with 16 players (*Ibrahimovic) on payroll as of now. They’ve got a decent chance to bring back at least one of the three they’re negotiating with. For a team that missed the playoffs, they were going to have to make some signings elsewhere.
The Galaxy shed some dead weight, a necessity for a team needing to create space for upgrades. The bigger problem now is that new players need to be scouted, engaged, and signed and a GM and manager are still not in place. This roster is now devoid of outside backs when they already were going to have to make multiple starting caliber signings in defense.
The clock’s ticking and Chris Klein is the only one who can get this off-season moving in the positive direction.