Should Craig Waibel get a contract renewal?
It’s been almost three years (August 27, 2015) since Craig Waibel has been appointed General Manager for Real Salt Lake. Now, his contract is up and the Real organization has a choice to extend his stay in Salt Lake City. Waibel has been facing recent backlash because of the failed signing of Alfredo Ortuno. As the fan base watched another glimmering hope of a center forward diminish we have to look at who’s to blame. Some from the fanbase feel that Waibel is to blame. Why not? He was the lead man on this signing and invested Dell Loy’s money so this deal could happen. However, I argue with the rest of the fanbase that the downfall of the Ortuno signing falls upon the shoulders of Ortuno. He didn’t beat out a converted-midfielder Luis Silva or converted-center forward Corey Baird for a starting spot. Ortuno probably has more skill, knowledge, and experience on how to play that position than both those players. One bright spot is that unlike Yura Movsisyan, Waibel has found a way this summer transfer window to dump the striker. I can see the Real Salt Lake fan base tweeting #WaibelOut but in this article, I can hopefully go through some of the Waibel transfers that makes him a GM worth keeping.
One of the names that are being praised by the mouths of RSL fans is Sunny Sunday. Now, one could argue that before this 2018 campaign Sunny wasn’t a great pick up. After watching RSL narrow win over the Houston Dynamo fans have to appreciate the level of play that Sunny is playing at. This international signing is one of many which shows that Real Salt Lake can deal with players on an international level. Waibel is the main reason for that. We can look at LA Galaxy, MLS Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle posted a tweet which stated, "Galaxy’s overseas scouting has been lacking the last couple of years tbh". We have to look at this in the reflective mirror.
As Real Salt Lake fans we can't say such a statement. Waibel has proven to us with numerous successful international signings such as; Albert Rusnak, Damir Kreilach, Jefferson Savarino, and Marcelo Silva. Overall, we have good successful international signings, however, we also have very bad international signings such as; Yura Movsisyan, Juan Manuel Martinez, Alfredo Ortuno, Sebastian Jaime and Pedro Baez. Although, I feel that our success overshadow our losses. Some of these players were a high reward and low risk such as the case of Pedro Baez, which Real Salt Lake got on loan during the 2016 summer transfer window. To conclude, we must look at Waibel’s successes before we look at the negative and I firmly argue that the negative hasn't entirely been his fault.
Mission Impossible: Brooks Lennon
We got Brooks Lennon on a free transfer. Repeat. A FREE TRANSFER. Liverpool gave us back what is now one of our best starters. How is that not a mission impossible? I remember when Waibel talked about the Lennon transfer before it was finalized. He stood firm and clear that he had no intention of spending money to get back one of our own homegrowns. I argue that this is one of Waibel’s best moves, first off, it seems pretty ridiculous and second because Waibel had to work with one of the biggest clubs in Europe in order to get back Brooksy. When debating about whether or not RSL should give Waibel a new contract, one situation which seems pretty good is this free transfer for Brooks Lennon.
Mission Failed: Javier Morales
Many of us didn’t like the way Waibel and Co. dealt with Javier Morales. He is a club legend and earned the right to stay with the club. Getting Albert Rusnak that offseason was a major success, however, I still feel that we owe Javier Morales more than just a bobblehead. Javi meant a lot to this club. I hope we see some more closure on this situation, especially now that we will have a couple of open coaching positions available this upcoming winter (Monarchs and/or RSL).
Verdict: Take my opinion for what it is, but I love the way in which RSL is utilizing their roster. Is it perfect? No. Can it improve? Yes. However, with a growing league, I’m happy that Waibel been able to make some smart moves to make RSL still a playoff contender. Furthermore, this picture of Waibel and assistant GM Elliot Fall with ProEleven soccer agents may suggest he is already thinking about moves for the up-and-coming season.
Thank you for reading, and go REAL.