On Monday night's Dynamo All Access on Sports Talk 790 hosted by Glenn Davis, Glenn briefly interviewed Dynamo midfielder (sometimes right, sometimes left midfielder) Corey Ashe and asked questions about his thoughts on the season that the status of his contract and contract negotiations. Ashe's comments on the season were nothing extraordinary, but his remarks about his contract situation were filled with disappointment and frustration with head coach Dominic Kinnear and the Dynamo front office.
Here's a transcript of the important parts from the interview:
Glenn: You're out of contract this year with the Dynamo. You're finishing up your fourth season right?
Glenn: What's the future hold for you and, uh, obviously I know the Dynamo are trying to renegotiate with you. Are we going to see you in orange?
Corey: Um, you know, that's obviously the million dollar question, Glenn. Obviously I want to stay in the MLS and I want to stay in Houston, especially with the way we ended the season. I would love to come back and play for the Dynamo. The fan base and just the team. You know, I enjoy being here and the team. With that being said, um, my agent, Chris Canetti, and Dom are having, um, they offered me a contract and my agent and I looked at it and were a little disappointed with the offer. But, we will see and see if they can come back with a counter offer. If not, then you know, I will take myself somewhere else and, at the end of the day, you know, it's business. So hopefully we can agree on terms. If not, then I'll have to look elsewhere.
Glenn: Is the whole negotiating process nerve-wracking? Not knowing exactly where the future is going to wind up?
Corey: It kinda is. We kinda get accustomed to being in one spot. I've obviously been here four years and obviously this is where I've had all of my MLS experience. But in the same token it's, uh, it's kinda reassuring because you hear that other teams are interested in you. So at the end of the day I know that I will be playing somewhere. Whether it's for the Dynamo, that's up in the air. But it could be for another MLS team or it could be abroad. So it's nerve-racking but it's also exciting. It's exciting to see how everything works and to be a part of it.
So Ashe is unhappy with his contract offer and that is understandable. For the last four seasons, according the the Major League Soccer Player's Union, Ashe was paid just $40,000 per season for his services. Now, while that number is low, it is important to note that most of the midfielders playing time came in tournament games and friendlies, since the outside midfield spots were covered by Brad Davis and Brian Mullan.
But Mullan was traded at the end of the 2010 season and Corey saw a spike in playing time (usually as a right-footed left midfielder) as, it seemed, the coaching staff was taking a look at the young outside midfielder to see if he fit in the team's plans for the coming season. Apparently he impressed the coaches enough for them to have Chris Canetti extend a new contract offer to Ashe. And now Corey is not to happy with Houston's offer, and thinks he can either get paid more from them, or will take his services elsewhere.
What happens next will be interesting, but the question that has to be asked is, Do the Dynamo need Corey Ashe? A quick look at Houston's outside midfield options is telling. Brad Davis should be protected in the Expansion Draft and Danny Cruz should be protected as well if his Generation Adidas status is not extended. This leaves Dynamo Academy-product (who is automatically protected in the draft) Francisco Navas Cobo, who is young, but could be a player for the future and a back-up player now. Colin Clark, who was acquired from Colorado as a part of the Brian Mullan trade, can play outside if needed, as can Sammy Appiah and Geoff Cameron (who should also be protected in the draft). So, these players, without Ashe, give Houston six options for the two outside midfield positions. While some of those players could only hold the position for a game or two, that would be more than enough to fill in during an injury or extended absence to a starter.
So Ashe is in a bit of a tricky situation here. He certainly feels that he is worth more money than he's offered, and, without knowing that actual number, he may be right. But, unless the Dynamo can sign him for $40,000 to $75,000 a year, Ashe really does not bring enough to the team to warrant receiving more money.
What's more, Coach Kinnear and the Dynamo front office are known around the league as a tough group, and one has to figure that they will not take kindly to Ashe discussing his unhappiness about an offer with the press and public. Once crossed, Kinnear is a tough coach to get back on your side.
What are your thoughts on Corey Ashe's contract and current situation? Do you think he is deserving of a better contract from the Dynamo? Do you think he will (or should) be in orange next season? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.