There’s nothing like getting home after a long day at work to find out that your club has traded its captain. That’s right, the New England Revolution have traded Shalrie Joseph to Chivas USA for Blair Gavin, a second round 2013 draft pick, and cash. Look, I get that the club is currently spinning its wheels (at best) and I understand that Shalrie is 34 years old now and that his days as a player are probably numbered. What I don’t get is how eight months ago the club thought so much of him as to make him- and better late than never in my book- a designated player? General Manager Mike Burns said that in trading Joseph the club “gains a significant amount of roster flexibility…”, or, in other words, it frees up cash. Cash that you’re only paying him because you chose to- right? I’m starting to think that the Revs front office fails to understand a few things: how to evaluate talent, finances, and public relations. Let’s look at that last one for a moment…
Joseph has been two things for most of his time with the Revolution- their best player and their most popular player. Others have come and gone in both rolls (Twellman, Dempsey, Noonan, Moore, Ralston, etc.), but Joseph’s presence and contributions have remained constant. He’s been a “good soldier” on the field- when the club needed him to score goals a couple of season ago he went out and led the team in goals and assists, and when the club has needed cover in the back line he’s stepped in without hesitation- and a great ambassador for the club in the community. If you have any doubt about that last part, do a Google Image Search of his name and see how many pictures are off him, in street clothes, smiling, with kids. The answer is- a lot.
About the money, the club couldn’t trim the budget/free up funds by getting rid of, oh, I don’t know, the cord of dead wood on this roster? Start with the two Colombians they never should have signed. Move on to Zak Boggs (seriously, I didn’t know he was still with the club!) and what about Sainey Nyassi? I know he’s been injured recently, but what exactly has he contributed to the club since 2007? Oh right, 8 goals in 6 seasons from an attacking midfielder. Shalrie scored 8 last year and 9 in 2009- just as a comparison.
What’s my point? If you feel you absolutely must get rid of him, you find a better way and you do it during the off-season. The Revs are not a playoff team and trading Joseph isn’t going to change that this year. If the club thinks that Blair Gavin, a 2nd rounder, and cash will make them a playoff team next year, fine. I disagree, but fine. Where is the testimonial match? Where is “Shalrie Joseph Night” at Gillette Stadium? Where is the offer of a position at the club when he retires? Where, in short, is the class?
Just to reiterate, this is who they traded:
And here’s something that doesn’t show up as a stat, but something every New England Revolution supporters knows beyond a shadow of a doubt: If you’re an opposing player and you cheap shot a New England player- especially a young one or one of the “skill players”- look out, Shalrie’s coming for you. Is there anyone else on this team you can say that about?
Finally, who becomes the club captain? I know who I think it should be, and his name isn’t Benny Feilhaber.