The Fire are taking a gamble that could backfire if another club feels that Gonzalo Segares is enough of an asset at left back to warrant a salary in excess of $200,000.00. Surprisingly, the club did not renew his option for 2013 making him available for the Re-Entry Draft on Friday afternoon. Segares' base salary of $210,000.00 in 2012 made him the fourth highest paid player on the team at the end of the season. It would appear that the club is rolling the dice that no team will be willing to pay that amount for a left back during the draft, after which they can renegotiate his return at a lower base salary in exchange for a longer term contract.
Per MLS rules players whose options are not renewed are eligible for selection in the Re-Entry Draft. If that player is not selected during the first phase of the draft the club can renegotiate his return at another wage. If the player does not re-sign with his original club after phase one he is eligible for selection in phase two at which point the new club making the selection can negotiate a contract with the player. The move to make Segares available is a gamble but it might be an unnecessary one with no apparent replacement at left back currently on the squad. The lack of quality at the position throughout the league should make Segares, a popular and productive player over the course of his career in Chicago an attractive option regardless of salary. Hunter Jumper is on the roster but it's not likely that he is ready to assume a full time roll as a left back in MLS. Dan Gargan filled in at left back this season when Segares was not available but his days in Chicago appear to be numbered.
Corben Bone, a former first round Superdraft selection and back up goalkeeper Jay Nolly were also made available for Re-Entry when their options were declined. Neither of those moves was a surprise but the Fire could be left scrambling for a plan B if Segares finds his way onto a club that suddenly has allocation money available or has cleared their roster of multiple players ahead of Friday's draft.
Things to consider
Only three players were selected during last year's Re-Entry draft. Defenders Danleigh Borman ($42k) and Carlos Mendes ($98k) and midfielder Arturo Alvarez ($192K).
The league will make public the entire list of players eligible for the draft on Wednesday or Thursday. Some players whose contracts have expired and did not have an option for 2013 have not been identified as of yet.
Losing Segares will not be a popular move with the core fan base and it brings to mind the mess Houston created for themselves last season when Brian Ching was selected by Montreal. We'll see how this plays out on Friday.