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Carlos Salcedo was protected by Real Salt Lake. Why?

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Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After Ned Grabavoy was selected by New York City FC in today's MLS Expansion Draft, Real Salt Lake protected Carlos Salcedo.

It came as somewhat of a surprise, given that Salcedo asked to not return to the club, and for the club to take his option. Clearly, the club took his option, and now, they made an additional step to protect him.

On a first glance, it might look like Real Salt Lake is set to keep Salcedo. But that surface perspective is only that — a surface view — and the truth is probably a bit more involved.

Keeping Salcedo would be a difficult proposition for Real Salt Lake. Making a public statement about your desire to leave the club never sits well with those at the club — players and coaches both.

But losing Salcedo, who looks like he will be a very, very good player in the very near future, for free? It's a non-starter. He could be a great center back, and his trajectory takes him right to the Mexican national team. Somebody will pay for him, whether it's in MLS or anywhere else — Mexico, perhaps. He won't be especially cheap, either.

Allowing New York City FC or Orlando City SC to grab Salcedo and conduct such a deal themselves would hurt Real Salt Lake. That allocation money they could gain from a deal would be incredibly helpful in the rebuilding of a veteran squad in 2015.

It doesn't mean that Salcedo will stay, and it doesn't necessarily mean he'll go. But I'd be shocked if he's still at Real Salt Lake in 2015.