There are notable names on both lists. There are several minor surprises on the list of players the team is bringing back. Tony Tchani struggled with consistency during last season and made $155,000 guaranteed. Tyson Wahl and Eric Gehrig shuttled in and out of the lineup, but their salaries are likely small. Shawn Sloan and Ryan Finley are the only rookies that made the cut.
The bigger news was on who Berhalter decided not to exercise options on Glauber, Danny O'Rourke, and the previously cut Matias Sanchez make up over $650,000 in guaranteed salary the Crew freed up. Sanchez never adapted to MLS and soon was off the game day roster, O'Rourke struggled with injury, and Glauber is coming off of an ACL tear.
He also decided not to pick up the option on Jairo Arrieta. Three goals wasn't enough for the $225,000 in guaranteed salary he made last year.
Declining options doesn't mean the players won't return, it just won't be under their existing contract. Arrieta already tweeted that today was the first step in a renegotiation process. Glauber and O'Rourke could also return under a new deal. O'Rourke also has the option of entering the Re-entry draft on December 7th.
The club also announced that they are actively trying to re-sign all three players who are out of contract. Dominic Oduro, Josh Williams, and Andy Gruenebaum were starters last year with Oduro leading the team in goals.
The moves today free up significant salary budget space. Berhalter didn't gut the roster, but true to "moneyball" form he decided not to overpay where he could find better value. He trimmed considerably on the defensive end. Glauber played some good (even great) defense before his injury, but the team already has Tyson Wahl and Augustin Viana as possible options in central defense at a much cheaper rate. O'Rourke is an expensive luxury. He's a player at the wrong side of 30 with a significant injury history. MLS teams can't afford a player like that who makes $175,000.
Berhalter also clearly values production rather than predictions. Jairo Arrieta struggled immensely last year. His nine goals in 2012 would justify a salary over $225,000, but three goals in 2013 do not. At 30, he's approaching an age when strikers start to break down faster and physical tools wane. He will need to take a pay cut if he wants to come back.
The decisions leave the Crew roster at 18 and frees up significant budget space. The team is thin at forward at the moment, but the Crew are trying to bring back Oduro and perhaps Arrieta. Goal scoring is an obvious position of need.
Berhalter kept a core group, but there certainly areas where the team is thin. The midfield and defense are solidly positioned, but the midfield still lacks decision makers and wing players. The defensive depth will need to be improved.
2013 Roster by Contract Decision
Guaranteed Contracts: Chad Marshall, Wil Trapp, Augustin Viana, Federico Higuain
Options Exercised: Matt Lampson, Daniel Withrow, Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig, Tyson Wahl, Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani, Ryan Finley, Aaron Schoenfeld.
Options Declined: Drew Beckie, Glauber, Kyle Hyland, Danny O'Rourke, Konrad Warzycha, Matias Sanchez, Aaron Horton
Out of Contract: Andy Gruenebaum, Dominic Oduro, Josh Williams
Goalkeepers (2): Matt Lampson, Daniel Withrow
Defenders (5): Chad Barson, Eric Gehrig, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana, Tyson Wahl
Midfielders (8): Bernardo Anor, Ethan Finlay, Kevan George, Justin Meram, Shawn Sloan, Ben Speas, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp
Forwards (3): Federico Higuain, Ryan Finley, Aaron Schoenfeld