MLS held stage two of this year’s Re-Entry Draft today with only five players being selected. Three of those players were selected by new teams, including former Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper, Eric Dick. Sporting midfielder, Felipe Gutierrez was also selected, but by Sporting KC.
The questions that come up with Sporting selecting their own player is what does this mean, and why did Sporting have to select their own player?
Sporting had declined the 2021 option on Gutierrez’s contract at the end of this season putting him into the pool for the Re-Entry Draft. Gutierrez made 52 appearances in 2018 and 2019, 49 of them starts scoring 19 goals and adding five assists.
First, a quick explanation of the Re-Entry Draft. It’s a two stage draft where teams can select players from within MLS who have not agreed to a new contract with their current club either being out of contract or having their option declined by the club. To qualify for the draft, players must be at least 22 years old and have at least one year of MLS experience. The player must also be out of contract or not have a Bona Fide Offer extended. A Bona Fide Offer is defined as a $15,000 increase of 10% increase from the prior year.
In the first stage of the draft, teams are required to either pick up the player’s option or extend a Bona Fide Offer to the player. As long as a Bona Fide Offer is extended the team will hold that player’s MLS rights. Teams are not allowed to select their own draft eligible players in this stage of the draft.
Come stage two, any player not selected in stage one is available to be selected in stage two. Players selected in stage two must have a genuine offer made to them within seven days by the club, if the team does, then that team holds that player’s MLS rights. Now we get to the part that pertains to Gutierrez. Once all teams have passed on players, teams may then go back through the list of players available again and select their own players.
This is what Sporting did today. after all teams had passed on selecting players, Sporting selected Felipe Gutierrez during the point when players can be selected by their original team. What this means is that Sporting now have seven more days to make a genuine offer to Gutierrez to sign him to the team going forward. If they make a genuine offer to Guiterrez, Sporting will hold his MLS rights whether he ends up signing for the club or not.
Players not selected in the Re-Entry Draft are free to negotiate with any team in the league on a first come first serve basis. So if Sporting hadn’t selected Gutierrez they could have potentially lost him for nothing should he have gone and signed with another MLS team after not being selected.
Selecting Gutierrez today shows that the club is still interested in him returning to the club in 2021, even with the addition of Remi Walter. Now it comes down to to whether the club and Gutierrez can come together to agree to a new deal that would keep him in Kansas City. Sporting is obviously wanting to protect themselves with Gutierrez coming off major surgery that kept him off the field for the entirety of 2020. Gutierrez meanwhile had been on a Designated Player contract for the club so there is a need to find a point where both sides would be happy with a deal for him to return to Sporting.