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February 19, 2013 at 4:56 PM

GM Adrian Hanauer: ‘All in all, we’re very happy with the deal.’

Here is the full transcript of a conference call with GM Adrian Hanauer following Tuesday’s trade for Shalrie Joseph…

*     *     *

(Can you explain how Shalrie Joseph ended up being DP for the Sounders and why that was something the team was OK with?) “It was effectively the only way to get the deal done. But all in all, we’re very happy with the deal — otherwise we wouldn’t have done it. We realize that gives us three designated players, between Mauro (Rosales), Christian (Tiffert) and Shalrie, but we also have two weeks left, and we still have the ability to buy a player out — if we decide to do that — to open up a slot for a regular-salaried player or a designated-player slot. … Would we rather have not absorbed the designated player slot? Sure. But it was the only way to get the deal done. …  As part of this deal, we’re not going to give details, but we are absorbing some of the salary-cap charge and Chivas is holding some of the salary cap charge. So, although he shows up on our books as a designated player, the full cap charge is not hitting us, which was a very important piece of this working for us, as well.”

(How important was it to be the No. 3 slot in the allocation order?) “For us, that’s huge. And to some degree we’re taking our chances with it, but you guys know well and good that around this time last year we were trading Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito to get Eddie Johnson through the allocation process. So sometimes a player comes through that may not be a big-time player, but sometimes players come through that are big, important players. We obviously picked up Marcus (Hahnemann) through allocation. We picked up Kasey (Keller) through allocation. Those are all important players to our team. And with a little advanced notice, now that we know we’re third in the ranking, we can get out there and try to prime the pump a little bit. I guess it’s a little bit of an announcement to national-team players around the world or players that have left our league by being sold out of the league that the Sounders are third in line, and I imagine there are some players out there who would like to come play for the Sounders. Maybe the timing is such that when we’re first, there is a big important player who we can bring to our team.”

(What do you like about Joseph?) “I’m not sure that I need to say a whole lot. His (résumé) kind of speaks for itself, but the things that we still like and that we felt would be particularly useful for our team is his versatility. He can play anywhere through the middle of the park. He’s done well as a forward, he’s obviously done extremely well as an attacking midfielder, he’s done well in the holding midfield position and he did OK at center back. So there’s that. The second thing is he provides a great deal of leadership and experience. He’s played in championship games, is a very good organizer on the field, and he’s also a fantastic passer of the ball, very good vision, great on set pieces, in the air, wins his duels in the middle of the park. So we need to get him fit and get his legs under him a little bit, but we expect he’s going to contribute significantly.”

(Did something change after Sigi Schmid said he didn’t think a deal would get done or was that just posturing during negotiations?) “Look, I don’t want to put words in Sigi’s mouth. We’ve always liked Shalrie. We liked him when he came and was with us for a couple of days. He fit right in on the field and with the guys. That said, for sure he isn’t particularly fit right now. I think he would admit it. We certainly wanted him, but we also weren’t sure we were going to be able to work out a deal with Chivas. So I think legitimately we weren’t certain that we were going to be able to get a deal done, but we certainly wanted to get a deal done.”

(What position do you see him playing?) “Not my department, really. We want to get him in here, get him fit, take a look. We’ve got a lot of games early in the season, and again his versatility is something that we really value. We’ll get him in and see where we end up fitting him in.”

(How important is it to have an open roster slot or DP slot going into the summer transfer window?) “It’s pretty important to us. We made a commitment to our fans in December that we were going to go out and spend money on a big DP. Those plans haven’t changed. But the reality is that meeting where we talked about that was two months ago, and the type of players we’re talking about don’t grow on trees. … Players of that ilk, that are checking the boxes that we want checked are not a dime a dozen. So that’s not to say that we don’t have some in our crosshairs, but sometimes good things take time.”

(Are things on red alert regarding another major move to the roster before the start of the season?) “Red alert? No. I guess without jumping too far ahead of things, I think that there’s a high likelihood that Djimi Traire will be with our team, as well. So that’s another center back, and then Shalrie is a player who can fill a lot of different roles. But I’d be lying if I said we’re not also very interested in acquiring another forward. And I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a player who could potentially fill that designated player role or position, of which we’ve got three right now. So that kind of gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks.”

(Is this a stand-alone move or part of a bigger plan?) “Unfortunately for you I’m going to answer that if this is part of a bigger plan, we will tell you as the pieces to that plan unfold.”

(Is Javier Saviola is potentially the DP target you were just referring to?) “Saviola is a fantastic player. We rate him very highly. I believe he was discovered by another team in our league. There are a lot of great players out there who we’d love to have on our team, but at this time there are no conversations and no progress directionally towards Saviola playing for the Sounders.”

(Is there any concern to having this much movement, maybe even some more to come, so close to the start of the season and important games in the CCL?) “I’d be lying if I said I wish on Jan. 19 or whenever we started preseason that we didn’t have our squad completely settled. But I knew coming into this year with our salary cap that it was going to be a tough one, and unfortunately it coincides with a big Champions League quarterfinal. But our big goal is MLS Cup, and so we were willing to sacrifice a little bit on the front end to make sure that we had things sorted come the summer as we head into the playoff hunt and hopefully tracking down an MLS Cup.”

(Do you think Joseph has several years left in him?) “I don’t know, and I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole a player and sort of hang him out to dry by saying that he has three years left in him when he doesn’t, or saying this is his last year and he proves us all wrong. I don’t know. I’m not sure that Shalrie knows. Our only objective is that he helps us win an MLS Cup this season and then we’ll figure out the rest down the line.”

(When you talk about looking for a DP still, are you also talking about a current DP moving on?) “Well, if we were to sign another DP in the next two weeks, then absolutely yes. We would have to move one of the existing DPs on or renegotiate a salary in a way that worked. And the same would be said for the summer. If we start the year with three DPs and we want to bring one in the summer, the same sort of issue applies. The key difference is up until March 2 we can buy out one player on our roster. After March 2, we can’t do that anymore.”

(Hanauer clarifies the terms of the deal in light of early reports…) “We got two picks. We traded the allocation ranking. We took on some of his salary that hits the cap and the DP designation.”

(Hanauer clarifies the buy-out process…) “Each team can buy out completely one player up until the beginning of the season. That means whether it’s a $50,000 player or a $5 million player, you effectively come to an agreement that that player is not going to play for you again, contact the league and negotiate a settlement.”


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