On November 21st, Sporting Kansas City traded forward Ryan Smith to Chivas USA for first and third round picks in the supplemental draft. A little over a week later, Sporting used that first round pick to trade for 28 year old Chivas midfielder Paulo Nagamura.
Nagamura fits the profile for what many expected this particular signing to be: a veteran role player that will provide depth and versatility to a Kansas City midfield that has seen Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle, Jeferson, and Milos Stojcev leave the club in one fashion or the other (Arnaud was traded to Montreal- Rocastle, Jeferson, and Stojcev were released).
To some extent, Sporting are taking a flyer on Nagamura. When healthy, he is a good two-way midfielder, but the injury concern is signficant. As I wrote last week in the season review on Nagamura, he only made 11 appearances in 2011, due to injury.
This news was also expected because of Nagamura's high salary. He had a base salary of $225,000 in 2011. For a frugal franchise like Chivas, that is a significant chunk of the team's payroll, and if he is sidelined for most of the season with injuries, it doesn't really work. While I may be critical of many of the club's decisions considering money and personnel, I think this isn't a bad move. He is expensive, and if he can't play, it's tying up too much of the wage bill.
To me, the wage aspect is a bit worrisome, actually a lot worrisome if he actually makes anything close to that for Sporting in 2012, but Charles Gooch from The Kansas City Star seems to think a deal will be worked out between Sporting KC and Nagamura to lower his wages.
Per Gooch's twitter:
I'm almost certain that Nagamura will take a pay cut of some kind.
As Ratterree mentioned, injuries are a legit concern as well. Nagamura has only played in a total of 26 matches in the past two seasons.
At the end of the day, I'm happy with the trade under the condition that Nagamura will make less money than what he made with Chivas this season. If healthy, Paulo could bring a lot to the Sporting midfield for the 2012 campaign. As Mike Kuhn from Down the Byline pointed out, we essentially traded Ryan Smith and a third round pick for Paulo. Smith was never going to play for Sporting again, and a third round pick isn't much to give up for a player that can provide the versatility that Nagamura offers.
Peter Vermes off season dominance continues.