MLS holds the second stage of this year's Re-Entry Draft today, with Sporting Kansas City holding the 12th pick in the draft. Unlike last week's first round that saw only two players (Mike Grella and Tyrone Mears), the second stage of the Re-Entry Draft usually has more activity because it offers teams more flexibility with the players they select instead of having to pick up their contract option or make the "bona fide offer." KC though has done little business in it, taking just two players in the prior seven years of the draft. Last year the club did pick one player, goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra in the second stage of the draft. This year there are some interesting names available in the second stage that if KC is interested could be some good depth pieces for the 2018 MLS season. Here are a few names from the list that could be seen as potential options.
With the loss of Erik Palmer-Brown to Europe, and the expected departure of Kevin Ellis, KC needs more depth at center back behind Matt Besler and Ike Opara. The club has Amer Didic, who earned his first call up to the Canadian national team in 2017, but the question is whether he's ready to step in and be the third center back for the club considering his only appearances for the club were in the 2016 CONCACAF Champions League. There aren't a lot of options for a center back in the re-entry draft, along with the 29-year-old Hines there are two older players in Victor Bernardez (35) and Damien Perrinelle (34). Hines would be a player that KC could draft to step into that third center back spot. He's played over 50 games for Orlando City in the last three years. His 2017 season though was limited due to injuries and he only played in six games. Coming off an injury plagued season is something that will raise red flags for many, including KC, who despite Opara's stellar 2017 season hasn't fully shaken the worries of injuries from earlier in his career. The former Middlesbrough center back wouldn't take up an international spot because of his American father. His salary in 2017 also makes him a potential attractive option, as according to the players’ union numbers, Hines base salary was only $129,996 in 2017. Of the other options I mentioned earlier, Perrinelle made just over $175,000 in 2017 and Bernardez made $225,000 so of the three, Hines seems the one best suited for Sporting's third center back spot in this draft.
The Seattle Sounders midfielder only spent a couple months with the Sounders after being traded by the Montreal Impact for a fourth round pick in August. After the trade, Mallace did not play for Seattle and had only played sparingly for Montreal in 2017 before the trade. Over his career Mallace has played in 80 MLS games starting 51 of them for the Impact. With the departures of Kevin Oliveira and Soni Mustivar, KC's midfield depth is left to Yohan Croizet, James Musa, and jack of all trades, Jimmy Medranda. Mallace would offer depth in the center of midfield, something that KC will likely need in 2017 with two-thirds of their starting midfield over 31 now. He's not going to be an attacking midfielder and set up many goals (he has just six assists in his career), but he'd be a guy that could come in and eat up minutes and give a solid performance in midfield. The price would also likely be right for KC as Mallace's base salary in 2017 was only $115,000.
For me, probably the most intriguing name on the list, Villarreal, and his brother, Jamie Villarreal were both let go by the LA Galaxy when they jettisoned a number of homegrown players at the end of the season. Only once in his career has the 24-year-old played more than 1,000 minutes, he's amassed five goals and nine assists in 68 appearances for a total of just 2,354 minutes in six seasons with the Galaxy. In 2017 he played just 389 minutes in 12 league games for LA, recording three assists. He'd be someone that KC could sub into the midfield in a more attacking sense, especially if Croizet spends more time on the wing. He's also someone that Peter Vermes could try to convert into a winger. Villarreal also had a small cap hit in 2017, just $105,000.
None of these players are going to come in and start, expecting a player like that from the re-entry draft, or getting a starter there says more about where the team would be at that time if it did happen. Anyone KC drafts today would be expected to be depth and to get spot starts for the team in 2018. There are other options that may seem appealing in the second stage, the likes of Giles Barnes is one name fans might like, and while KC would be able to negotiate his contract, he was making over $700,000 last year and expecting him to drop substantially seems unlikely. Others, like Lloyd Sam turns 34 in the 2018 season and KC already tried the veteran winger path a couple years ago with Brad Davis and Justin Mapp. In the end, this draft is all about finding depth on the cheap/inexpensive, which the three listed above would be.