Real Salt Lake will start 2016 with some inevitable change, and with some key contracts coming to a close, we're wondering what happens.
There are five players out of contract: Javier Morales, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Luis Gil, and Luis Silva.
Yesterday, Chris Kamrani of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that those five were out of contract at the end of the year, and that RSL general manager Craig Waibel said that some would be re-signed and some would not.
Players out-of-contract at Real Salt Lake, per GM Craig Waibel: Javier Morales, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Luis Gil and Luis Silva.— Chris Kamrani (@chriskamrani) October 29, 2015
None of these are particular surprises — except maybe Jamison Olave, who only (re-) signed with RSL this year. We knew Luis Silva was out of contract when we traded for him, and we knew Luis Gil was entering the final year of his deal.
There's Javier Morales, too, who we've talked about being in the final year. And finally, Chris Schuler isn't a shock because his injuries almost necessitate shorter contract periods to protect the team.
But who's going to stay, and who's going to go? And what should be the case? We'll be talking a lot this offseason about where RSL can improve, and it's clear that they can improve, well, everywhere.
There's no question that he should stay, and while there's nothing I have pointing to him definitely staying, his quality is impossible to ignore. Keep him, but maybe it'll have to be at a slightly lower salary and with an understanding that a bench role might make sense — unless he can stay fit again next year (like he did this year, barring his concussion), in which case, start the man.
There is no easy answer here, but we have to wonder what Chris Schuler is thinking about his career right now. He's 28, RSL's best defender (hands-down), and played only five games in 2015. What's next for him? That's down to him — and his doctors.
He's not the Olave of old, but he's also not the Olave of New York Red Bulls — it's a whole new Olave we have, and the last two months of the regular season didn't always look good on him. He's 34, so not ancient, but will RSL try to retain him? I don't think so.
There's no sense questioning it: Luis Gil is almost certainly gone at the end of the year. Where will he go? It's hard to say if he stays in MLS or goes to somewhere like Mexico — or perhaps overseas. It could also be the shot in the arm he needs to really get his career rolling again.
This kid is really good, but when we traded Alvaro Saborio for him, there was acknowledgement that he had definitive interest from Mexico for his services. He might be a little injury-prone, but if RSL can keep him, they could really use him — at the very least as a backup for Javier Morales.