Locking yourself into, and committing long-term to a youth-filled squad is ill-advised, and Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey is very aware of that fact.
“The chances if we sign, I think ten players, chances are they’re not going to all work out,” explained Lagerwey.
Because of that, he’s keeping the roster composition open for flexibility in order to be able to make adjustments as needed. That includes the recent dumping of any weighty long-term deals that the team had questions about.
“We put ourselves in a position to try to make decisions over a three year period,” explained Lagerwey. “We got rid of every long term contract that we didn’t want. We’ve been very careful about the long term commitments this year.”
Aside from long-term contracts, the team is also being careful to keep some salary cap flexibility (look for a salary cap analysis to come later this week on KIR), and will avoid maxing out their resources during this transfer window in case an adjustment is needed in the summer transfer period.
“What we’d like to do if we can get healthy and not have to sign some guys is to go back to 2009 level where we have some resources in reserve and that way we can do something if something doesn’t work out,” said the RSL roster maestro. “And there are some players available in the summer that aren’t available in the winter. So that might be part of the play as you look at a three-year run, and how do you win a title over the next three years.”
Although they are positioning themselves to create flexibility with the salary cap, the team’s favorable cap position after making some offseason deals may also allow them to enter territory they haven’t been in before – having a full 30-man roster.
“We can have up to 30,” added Lagewey. “We’ve been 26 pretty consistently the last few years. I wouldn’t be shocked to see us at as many as 30. I’m not guaranteeing that, but I think there is a possibility that we sign 30 players for the first time ever. With young guys you probably need to sign one or two more of them because they’re not going to all work out. But that’s just going to be dictated by how a lot of the younger players do.”
What do you think about RSL’s approach this offseason? Has the club put itself in position to be successful for 2013 and beyond?
Also, be sure to check back later for Lagerwey’s thoughts on the possibility of an additional Designated Player.