The New York Red Bulls have announced their list of players protected from the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft, most notably perhaps including confirmation of Kristian Dyer’s reporting for The Athletic regarding the positive progress of negotiations with out-of-contract center-back Tim Parker.
The Red Bulls have protected 10 players under contract and the rights to Tim Parker. The Red Bulls have extended a Bona Fide offer to Parker, retaining his rights and making him ineligible for the upcoming MLS re-entry draft.
Dyer had previously reported RBNY had made a Bona Fide offer to Parker, satisfying the necessary technicalities to keep the player out of the forthcoming Re-Entry Draft. Protecting Parker from the Expansion Draft is also a necessary step if the club wants to ensure its negotiations are not disrupted by the intervention of another team.
The announcement therefore confirms RBNY is keeping Parker safely away from all the various mechanisms MLS offers for out-of-contract players to sign quickly with new clubs in the league. He’s not eligible for either the Waiver Draft (too experienced) or Free Agency (too young), and the Red Bulls have actively shielded him from the Expansion Draft and the Re-Entry Draft.
RBNY’s statement regarding Parker also provides an informal timeline for when it might be appropriate to expect further news out of the club on the progress of its negotiations with the player. The Re-Entry Draft has two phases - the first on December 14 and the second on December 20. The Red Bulls can conclude their negotiations with Parker any time they choose, and if a deal is made that will surely be announced as soon as it is finalized.
But if a deal isn’t announced between now and the second phase of the Re-Entry Draft, if there is no news at all about Parker for the next 10 days or so - that would appear consistent with the club’s decision to announce the player isn’t going to be part of the Re-Entry Draft.
Throw in the fact that December 20 - the day of the concluding phase of the Re-Entry Draft - is a Friday, and there follows a weekend and then the run-in to Christmas Day: the Red Bulls have bought themselves some time, at least with regard to whatever pressure the club might feel to keep inquiring minds updated about the progress of discussions with Parker.
No news about Parker is not necessarily good or bad news - it’s just what is to be expected between now and the far side of Christmas. If the Red Bulls have word they want to get out, assume they will do so (keep an eye on Kristian Dyer’s reporting for that). If the Red Bulls have no news to report for a while - well, they’ve already said they’ve protected Parker from all the pre-Christmas MLS draft days.
Whether they’ve protected him from the advances of European clubs who will start actively signing players in January is a question the Red Bulls will hope they don’t have to address, but that is also a question they don’t need to give too much thought to (unless the rumor mill intervenes) for another couple of weeks.
For now, we know as much as we perhaps need to know about RBNY’s progress with persuading Parker to stick with the club: the Red Bulls are the only team he can talk to in MLS for the foreseeable future, and they surely hope that the next update is the news that a deal has been done.