Earlier today, the New York Red Bulls traded for goalkeeper Kyle Reynish. In exchange, the Red Bulls gave the Chicago Fire a 3rd round pick in the 2016 MLS Super Draft. This might seem innocent enough, but one of our staff members (credit: Lester Townsend) asked the question, "didn't the Red Bulls already trade this pick?"
Everyone remembers the failed experiment that is Bobby Convey in a Red Bull uniform. When the Red Bulls acquired him from Toronto FC in late 2013, among the considerations was a 1st round pick in the 2016 Supplemental Draft going from the Red Bulls to Toronto. The Supplemental Draft was eliminated after that trade was made, and those rounds were rolled into the SuperDraft.
It's hard finding a clear explanation of exactly how the Supplemental Draft & SuperDraft were integrated, but the common line of thinking is that the Supplemental Draft became rounds 3 and 4 of the SuperDraft. If this is true, then did the Red Bulls really trade the same pick twice? It would seem so, but we can't be certain. Below are pieces of press releases covering the Convey & Reynish trades, taken directly from the Red Bull website. Emphasis in the below quotes is mine.
The New York Red Bulls announced today that they have acquired former U.S. national team midfielder Bobby Convey, as well as Toronto FC's natural 2014 MLS SuperDraft second-round selection (22nd overall). In exchange, New York sent its natural 2014 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick (15th overall) and its 2016 first-round Supplemental Draft pick to Toronto FC.
The New York Red Bulls have acquired goalkeeper Kyle Reynish from the Chicago Fire in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, the club announced today.
Reading the quotes it would seem that the Red Bulls did indeed trade the same pick twice. It's possible there's some unknown rule about draft picks, because it is MLS after all. The closet I have come to verifying how this works is unfortunately Wikipedia articles about the 2014 & 2015 drafts. Both of those Wikipedia articles mention the Convey pick becoming a third round pick, but with no source cited for that claim.
So, did the team manage to pull one over on the league? The only other possible explanation is that the Red Bulls picked up another 3rd round pick for 2016 at some point. There's no record of the Red Bulls gaining any picks however. If the Red Bulls did manage to pull one over on everyone, then we would have to give Ali Curtis some credit. It's a shrewd move if a pick was traded twice.
We did reach out to the team for clarification on this, but they have not yet commented. I suspect we'll hear more about this in the coming days.
UPDATE: The Red Bulls have responded with this statement. "All trades are reviewed and approved by the league office." If we find out more information, we will report it.