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Babayaro, Kotschau, Cancela head waiver list
by Ridge Mahoney, March 4th, 2008 6:45AM
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[MLS] Compliance day has come and gone. What is the aftermath, if any, will be known Tuesday, after MLS conducts a waiver draft at 3 p.m. ET. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney explains the significance.

The Galaxy needed to trim its roster to get under the salary cap and it waived two players not expected to stick around and one it had just acquired: Kyle Martino, Kelly Gray and Celestine Babayaro. Real Salt Lake let go veteran defender Ritchie Kotschau, Colorado jettisoned midfielder Jose Cancela once it had signed Brazilian Rafael Gomes and also cut loose defender Brandon Prideaux.

If a player clears waivers, he can negotiate with any MLS team, including the team that waived him, without hindrance. This wouldn't be news in any other U.S. pro league, but is pertinent here.

MLS teams no longer retain rights to a waived player, so a waived player is waived. Period. Full stop. Unencumbered by any vestiges of single-entity entanglement, he is empowered to join the team claiming him off waivers, free and clear, no questions asked, no negotiations needed.

Claiming a player off waivers is usually a straightforward process in other professional sports, with provisos that teams often pay a nominal fee when doing so. But in the past, an MLS team claiming a player on waivers merely earned the right to dicker for that player, as in the case of a trade. A deal still had to be negotiated. So what's the point, or rather, what was the point?

Deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis once justified this odd nuance by insisting that enabling teams to retain rights to players they have waived would encourage teams to trade as well as file discovery claims, use allocations, claim players off waivers, etc. Actually, the MLS rules forced teams to work out a deal so the waiver could be consummated. It might be a conditional draft pick, or a chunk of allocation money, or salary-cap relief, or future considerations, or a bag of game balls, but something had to change hands.

In some ways the procedure limited a team's options, since once a team claimed a player in the waiver draft, it dropped to the bottom of the list of teams regardless of its original position. The waiver draft order during the offseason is based on the teams' performances during the previous season.

Chivas USA, Houston, New York, New England and expansion San Jose did not waive any players. The next deadline for MLS teams is April 15, the closing date for the U.S. transfer window/registration period for players under contract.

Some listed players had already been released or had their options declined, but their names are included since this is the first waiver draft held following the MLS SuperDraft and Supplemental Draft in January.

The league will release the waiver draft order Tuesday morning. Here are the players listed as waived and available in Tuesday's draft:

Chicago - Tim Conway, Jeff Curtin, Floyd Franks, Jordan Russolillo, Olei Telesford.

Colorado -- Scott Campbell, Jose Cancela, Chase Hilgenbrinck, Brandon Prideaux, Cliff Wilmes.

Columbus -- Rusty Pierce, Ricardo Virtuoso, Andre Pacheco.

D.C. United - Nicholas Addlery, Jerson Monteiro, Jay Nolly.

FC Dallas - Sandy Gbandi, Scott Jones.

Kansas City - Ryan Raybould.

Real Salt Lake -- Kyle Brown, Duke Hashimoto, Ritchie Kotschau, Chris Lancos.

Toronto FC - Kenny Stamatopolous.



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