CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 09: Nagamura: Obrigado! (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Chivas USA continue their offseason wheeling and dealing today. They have traded midfielder Paulo Nagamura to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for a first-round Supplemental Draft pick, as reported on the MLS website. The Supplemental Draft is the draft following the SuperDraft, so this 1st round pick is essentially a third-round pick. It is also one of the picks Chivas traded to Sporting last week for Ryan Smith. In essence, Chivas traded Nagamura and a third-round supplemental pick for Smith, and we shall see who got the better side of that in coming seasons. Frankly, it's a toss up at this point. All things considered, it looks clear Chivas wanted to get rid of Nagamura, but there's a chance they could get a good player with the pick they got back.
Meanwhile, SKC traded veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud to the Montreal Impact yesterday, so Nagamura will provide a veteran presence to them. Both players struggled mightily with injuries in 2011, and 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.
That said, Nagamura was a talented player, and when healthy, he could bring an offensive spark and a defensive grit that few players could. He was widely admired by Chivas' fans, and if he succeeds at SKC, there will surely be teeth-gnashing around these parts. Still, we wish Nagamura the best of luck moving forward.