If he can stay healthy, midfielder Paulo Nagamura could play an important role for Sporting Kansas City in 2012. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
A while back I was able to talk to Robert Jonas of "Quake, Rattle, & Goal" (the SB Nation San Jose Earthquakes blog) about Sporting Kansas City's acquisition of Bobby Convey. I had been meaning to also post about Sporting's other acquisition from that same time, midfielder Paulo Nagamura, who Kansas City acquired for a first round pick in the 2012 Supplemental Draft.
With all of the holiday madness as of late, I hadn't been able to talk to The Goat Parade (SB Nation's Chivas USA blog) until this week. The Goat Parade manager, Alicia Ratterree, was nice enough to answer a few questions about Paulo, and what Sporting Kansas City fans should expect in 2012 from one of the club's newest editions.
As always, a big thank you to Alicia for taking the time to talk with The Daily Wiz.
The Daily Wiz- What were your initial thoughts on the Nagamura trade? Were you happy with the first round supplemental draft pick Chivas received for Paulo?
Alicia Ratterree- While Chivas USA often make puzzling decisions, including this offseason, I thought the trade was potentially shrewd for both teams. At his peak, Nagamura is worth more than a supplemental round draft pick, as those picks rarely pan out in the league. In contrast, Nagamura has immense talent, but his problem in his second stint with Chivas was that he was injured much of the time, and he couldn't seem to stay healthy. Becasue of that, and because of his salary cap hit ($230,500 guaranteed compensation in 2011) I think it made sense for Chivas to part ways with him. If Nagamura continues to struggle with injuries, and if other players adequately step into his position, I think Chivas will have made a very good deal. If, however, Nagamura is healthy and is able to play major minutes with SKC, he can provide skill and depth that will be very useful. For Sporting, it's a risky move, but as you are looking to break through as a title-winning side, he is certainly capable of being a missing piece, either starting or in depth for the squad.
The Daily Wiz- What kind of player is Sporting Kansas City getting in Paulo?
The Daily Wiz- What kind of locker room presence did Nagamura have at Chivas? Collectively, how do you think Chivas fans felt about his departure?
Alicia Ratterree- No doubt about it, Chivas are a team in flux. In the past, he was one of the most essential players on the squad, but after going to Mexico in 2009, the team has gone through a great deal on and off the field, and to some extent moved on so that he wasn't a key player in 2011. Current head coach Robin Fraser is going into his second season with Chivas, and he and the front office have been pretty decisive about player personnel moves for the most part. I think if Nagamura made less money, he may very well still be on the team, but the injury-riddled campaign plus his salary made him expendable in Fraser's plans. Chivas' fans always supported Paulo, as he was a hard worker on the field. But I don't think fans were too upset about the trade. Perhaps that was because of some of the other moves, like trading away Justin Braun and letting Zarek Valentin go in the Expansion Draft, left fans stunned, or maybe it was because they thought it was a reasonable move. In the end, time will tell which team gets the best out of the deal, but I think Chivas fans do wish the best for Nagamura.