Welcome to From The Upper Deck, my blog about RSL and soccer in general. I have a lot of passion for the beautiful game. I am just a fan that likes to sit in the upper deck and take it all in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Jaime Situation

By Charles Barnard

News came out yesterday about a potential forward that RSL might be bringing in. As I followed the developments pretty closely I thought it would be good to go over all the information that we do know and what I think might be happening as well. 

Let’s start out by talking about the things we know for sure. Yesterday Chilean media began to report that Argentine forward Sebastian Jaime would be leaving Chilean side Union Espanola to join Real Salt Lake.  This news quickly got picked up by RSL fans on Twitter and began to spread.

Local fans got more excited as YouTube videos like this one began to be tweeted out. A hashtag of #JaimeWatch was even started with one awesome fan going as far to going down to the airport to try and find more information (Meg you rock!).

A little while after the news hit, RSL released the following statement to the Salt Lake Tribune. “Real Salt Lake is aware of the reports connecting the club to the player in question, however at this point, we do not have a signed player.”

Later in the afternoon, additional information came out. In his weekly radio interview, Head Coach Jeff Cassar said that both he and Garth Lagerwey had recently traveled to Chile on scouting trips. He also confirmed that he had seen Jaime play and he had also spoken with the player. While he said that no signing had occurred as of yet, he did say that he thought Jaime could come right in and make an impact in MLS.

Finally, NBC Sports Pro Soccer Talk came out with a report saying that terms have been agreed upon with the only hold up being the players P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate keeping Jaime from completing the move.

What do we know about Jaime?  He is 27 years old and is 5’10”. It has been reported that he has scored 51 goals in 134 professional appearances. It is also been reported that his contract ends at the end of the year.

So those are all the things that we know. But there are many parts of the story that we do not know. The following is speculation on my part.

We have been told on many occasions that RSL currently does not have much, if any, space under the MLS salary cap. They currently have 28 spaces filled on their current roster. They want to stay at 28 because due to league rules the empty roster spots give the team a bit more allocation money to buy down the cap. If Jaime is brought in, it seems another player would have to leave the team for roster reasons.

The next question is how much is Jaime going to cost? While there are rumored numbers being floated around, no one knows the answer to that question as of yet. One would have to think that a striker in the prime of his career is going to cost some money. My guess would be a good chunk of money. Another thing to remember is that he is still under contract. Even though the contract is almost up, there will be sure to be a transfer fee involved in the move as well. This fee is considered part of a player’s salary for salary cap purposes. 

It is clear to see that a big move will need to be made to be able to fit Jaime under the cap. But what will that move be? The logical thing would be that since we are bringing in a forward that we would be moving out a forward as well. And it has to be someone that makes a decent amount of money to clear the space that we need. The only players that truly fit would be Saborio or Findley.

Based on the numbers released by the players association, Saborio is currently making $360,000 a year. Findley is making $215,000 a year. The other forwards on the team make much less so I don’t think that moving them would have enough of an effect on the salary cap. I really can’t see RSL moving Saborio at this time. That leaves Findley as the odd man out.

The other player that I might see being moved is Luis Gil. He has been somewhat struggling to get playing time over Luke Mulholland. There will be great demand around the league for Gil. He is also currently making $220,000 so he would clear out a large portion of money from the cap if he is moved. It is harder for me to see the team moving Gil, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they moved him either.

What should we expect to receive back for trading either Findley or Gil? The only thing we would want at this point would be allocation money. We don’t have room on the roster for another player, but allocation money would help buy down the cap even more to make room for Jaime. Remember we will need room next year as well if we want to resign Jaime. My feeling is that we need all the allocation money that we can get right now.

My feeling is that the deal is done for Jaime. But before it can move forward, the team has to make a deal to clear salary cap space. Once that happens, everything else can move forward. Today is the final day that the transfer window is open. It could be a very interesting day for RSL. 

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