- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On May 9, 2011
- 2 Comments
- 2011 MLS Season, 2011 Player Salaries
I mentioned on Saturday a few items on the salaries that were released but I wanted to take it a step further today and go with a team-by-team approach here to see who’s doing things right and who’s wasting their money. Sometimes the Players Union’s data makes perfect sense as you know what to expect out of some player’s numbers. Other times, it can be a bit confusing.
The New York Red Bulls are spending the most (total payroll is nearly $13.4 million) and the Portland Timbers are the least ($2.67 million). The Philadelphia Union have the highest median salary ($125,000) and the Colorado Rapids have the lowest ($62,081.50).
When the league added Portland and Vancouver it meant adding more money to the pool on players and thus the payroll on players went up. In a big way too. According to the figures released, all but one team is spending more than the $2.675 million salary cap.
Now for the team-by-team look. I’ve listed the highest player, a player I see as overpaid and one as underpaid. Plus I threw in some notes about how teams stand up for this summer’s transfer window.
Highest Paid: Nery Castillo, $1.65 million base, $2 million+ overall*
Overpaid: Marko Maric, $150k base salary
Underpaid: Diego Chaves, $42k base salary
Notes: First of all I earmark Castillo’s numbers here as the club as an option to purchase him for good that will be “on the books” until the middle of this month. No way on earth the Fire will use that option here. So come next month that figure will be off the books and will make the Fire look very different in terms of salaries. It is easy to look at the Fire’s figures and understand why they are struggling on the year. The top paid players aren’t living up to their billing while guys like Chaves are drastically underpaid. Based on production (four goals in eight games) Chaves could easily be one of the most underpaid players in the entire league.
Highest Paid: Heath Pearce, $247,825 base; $257,325 total
Overpaid: Zach Thornton, $155k base
Underpaid: Ben Zemanski, $42k base
Notes: Chivas is clearing saving cash and building for the future here. Only seven of guys make over the $100k mark and couple of them aren’t of any real value here. This team is very young and their salaries prove that.
Highest Paid: Conor Casey, $400k total
Overpaid: Mac Kandji, $120k base
Underpaid: Omar Cummings, $80k base
Notes: It is easy to see why Cummings wanted to bolt over the winter to England. He’s vastly underpaid when he is healthy. Casey got a nice bump in salary from last year and is now sitting outside the DP zone in terms of salary. I put Kandji as the overpaid over a couple guys mainly for the fact that he’s out and really before his injury at the MLS Cup last year he wasn’t that special of a player for the Rapids. Still, this very veteran team looks that way with their salaries, lots of guys making nearly the same amount.
Highest Paid: Andres Mendoza, $500k base; $595k total
Underpaid: Rich Balchan, $42k base; $58k total
Notes: The defense that has been so strong for the Crew is proving to be a very cheap one. Rookie Balchan is dirt cheap, while Julius James is at a cool $68k for the year. Amazing that they are getting so much out of guys making so little compared to those playing up top for them. Mendoza is on the books as a DP and is basically a waste at this point, sucking up tons of salary. Same could be said for Jeff Cunningham who’s on the books for $158k. It was good to see Emmanuel Ekpo get a nice bump in pay (he’s at $200k).
Highest Paid: Branko Boskovic, $525k
Underpaid: Ethan White, $55k base, $72 total
Notes: Had Boskovic not gotten hurt he wouldn’t be listed as the overpaid player for me. That honor easily goes to Joseph Ngwenya ($156k). Other that that, really this club has turned the tide from their years of wasted salaries on South American players that didn’t pan out. Charlie Davies is cheap based on his production and this young club will only continue to get better.
Highest Paid: David Ferreira, $600k base, $705 total
Overpaid: Milton Rodriguez, $198k
Underpaid: George John, $42k
Notes: Interesting that the club is spending about $400k on keepers (thankfully two of them are off the books) so it doesn’t look as bad. Ricardo Villar’s salary is baffling as it is close to what Dax McCarty was making a year ago (one of the reasons why they were quick to dump him in the expansion draft). So far he’s a close second to Rodriguez for overpaid player with this club. On the other end guys like John and Andrew Jacobson are grossly underpaid. No doubt both will be in for a big bump next year. Same will be said about Fabian Castillo, who’s only on the books for $42k, he’s a DP only based on his transfer fee, something I believe more clubs will be doing here.
Highest Paid: Brian Ching, $375 base, $412 total
Overpaid: Ching maybe? Or Eddie Robinson, $120k
Underpaid: Tally Hall, $84k base
Notes: Houston is an interesting team to look at when it comes to salary. They got Koke at a bargin ($153k) and the rest are paid pretty well. They could easily be the hardest club to find an overpaid/underpaid player on. Their management and coaches definitely do a good job at their budget. It was also good to see Geoff Cameron get a nice bump in pay too. He’s now no longer the most underpaid player in the league in my books.
Sporting Kansas City
Highest Paid: Davy Arnaud, $250k base
Overpaid: Stephane Auvray, $170k base
Underpaid: CJ Sapong, $42k
Notes: For all the good moves this club made surrounding their stadium, their rebranding, etc., their salaries make absolutely no sense. They have 13 players making over $100k in base salary, which means they’ll have no wiggle room for big moves this summer, unless they have a stock pile of allocation sitting somewhere. Omar Bravo’s salary cap hit of $120k seems really low for a DP but I’m sure there is more to that story than what that number suggests.
Highest Paid: David Beckham, $5.5 million base, $6.5 million total
Overpaid: Chad Barrett, $192 base
Underpaid: Miguel Lopez, $42k
Notes: I believe I recall reading that Barrett’s salary is some what less for LA’s books and that Toronto is picking up some of that tab. Either way, its still too much. Same goes for keeper Brian Perk, very shocked to see them spending a little over $100k on a third string keeper. The rest isn’t really shocking, we know LA spends lots of money and somehow is at the salary cap each season. I’m not math major or anything but their figures (along with New York’s) never add up to me.
New England Revolution
Highest Paid: Shalrie Joseph, $500k total
Overpaid: Didier Domi, $150k
Underpaid: Bobby Shuttleworth, $42k
Notes: They have some big numbers at the top with Joseph, Benny Feilhaber ($346k) and Radic Lekic ($275k), while other numbers are pretty average. Tough to pick out an underpaid guy on this team, which seems weird for the Revs. It was a toss up between Shuttleworth and AJ Soares. One is a rookie, so that is obvious and the other is a backup keeper that seems to see plenty of time on the field with the aging Matt Reis. This is definitely another club that probably has little wiggle room for this summer.
New York Red Bulls
Highest Paid: Thierry Henry, $5.6 million
Overpaid: Ibrahim Salou, $264k (ugly #s for a former player)
Underpaid: Tim Ream, $55k base
Notes: Don’t get how Tim Ream is making such a low figure, sure that will change before long. He is only a second-year player. The rest isn’t shocking though with this club. I don’t get how they fit Dwayne De Rosario’s salary in but hey, I’m sure it fits in the eyes of the league front office. Some will also lump Juan Agudelo into that underpaid category, his base salary is only $55k but his incentives push his salary up to $85k. Not bad for a Home Grown player.
Highest Paid: Faryd Mondragon, $230k base, $399k total
Overpaid: Juan Diego Gonzalez, $189k base
Underpaid: Sheanon Williams, $42k
Notes: Another smart money team. Definitely one that is getting a lot of bang for their buck with guys like Williams, the Farfan twins, and a couple others. Not sure what kind of room they have for an upgrade this summer but you can see they have wisely spent their money on quality players.
Highest Paid: Troy Perkins, $250k base, $280k total
Overpaid: Kevin Goldthwaite, $110k
Underpaid: Kalif Alhassan, $62k
Notes: You can tell this expansion team is taking it slow in terms of spending. We knew that going into the year really as they were quick to deal for allocation in trades. Being on the lowest end of the pay scale in the league, the Timbers are investing in the future with young guys. Only six guys make over $100k in base salary, that’s impressive in this league. It is interesting to point out that rookie Darlington Nagbe’s base salary is only $62k but his total salary with incentives comes to a little over $200k. Not a bad way to go for a rookie pay.
Real Salt Lake
Highest Paid: Javier Morales, $400k base
Overpaid: Luis Gil, $185k total
Underpaid: Fabian Espindola, $75k
Notes: Another club that is wise with their money. A lot of their key guys are locked into long-term deals while their young players are paid modestly. It was really hard to find an overpaid player, Gil was really the only choice since his total compensation is pretty high compared to others around him that are used more like Espindola, who is much more of a bargin that what I had originally thought he’d be.
San Jose Earthquakes
Highest Paid: Bobby Convey, $336k total
Overpaid: Scott Sealy, $150k base
Underpaid: Brandon McDonald, $45k
Notes: Nice to see Chris Wondolowski get a huge bump in pay after his Golden Boot season. Other than that this club was fairly predictable to look at. They have a couple guys making more than they should so the wiggle-room for later on this season could be interesting to see. It isn’t hard to see why this club is struggling right now too, lots of overpaid guys that are underperforming.
Seattle Sounders FC
Highest Paid: Fredy Montero, $500k base, $626k total
Overpaid: Nate Jaqua, $200k
Underpaid: Steve Zakuani, $90k base
Notes: Tough to find one underpaid guy on this roster, Zakuani was listed solely based on his base salary, his total numbers come around the $188k range. Montero could be considered overpaid but I’m sure his production will go up before long to make up for things. Lots of guys making plus $100k numbers right now, which means come summer there won’t be a lot of space for adding players. Still wonder if they’ll go for another DP too, I think they will.
Highest Paid: Julian de Guzman, $1.8million base
Overpaid: de Guzman
Underpaid: Joao Plata, $42k
Notes: Only a handful of players making over the $100k mark and lots of guys making sub-$50k. From the looks of things they have room to play come summer time but there is also the thought of how much they’re still paying for former guys like Dwayne De Rosario and Chad Barrett. Either way, this club has a ways to go regardless of their salary numbers.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Highest Paid: Eric Hassli, $660k base, $900k total
Overpaid: John Thorrington, $197k base
Underpaid: Jay Nolly, $65k base
Notes: Nearly put Joe Cannon on the overpaid side as he’s making a little more than Thorrington, but I’m holding out for him to work himself back into the lineup. Instead the guy beating him out for the starting spot, Nolly, is easily the most underpaid guy on this roster. Not sure what kind of room this club has to make any big moves this summer, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them add another DP if they can fit it in.