For San Jose Earthquakes, finances behind Steven Beitashour trade: "Numbers never really added up"

Steven Beitashour with the San Jose Earthquakes

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SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes spent years trying to get Steven Beitashour inked to a new deal, with no success.

So when the Vancouver Whitecaps came calling about the right back’s rights, it only took the Quakes a few days to hammer out an agreement.

The trade was officially announced Monday, with Beitashour, the San Jose native and 2012 MLS All-Star, headed to Canada in exchange for allocation money.

Quakes general manager John Doyle said the idea was first broached by the Whitecaps "eight or 10 days ago." For Doyle, it boiled down to getting something instead of nothing for a player who was out of contract; had Beitashour left the league, San Jose would have retained his MLS rights but received no monetary compensation for his departure.

“We’ve had discussions with Steve for three years. And the numbers have never really added up,” Doyle told reporters after the Quakes opened training camp Monday. “We didn’t think we were going to get anything for him. We thought he would go to Europe. So when [Vancouver] offered what they did, we sat and thought about it and the whole staff decided to let him go.”

Doyle said the club had made several offers to improve Beitashour’s rookie deal since the No. 30 overall pick in the 2010 SuperDraft established himself the following year with seven assists in just 19 league appearances.

None of those attempts worked out.

“We’ve offered him new contracts on a bunch of occasions, and it was never good enough for him,” coach Mark Watson said. “He’s kind of always made it clear that he wanted to leave and make bigger money. We tried to keep him.”

Beitashour had 16 assists in 87 MLS matches with the Quakes, including 13 during the 2011-12 seasons when he burst to prominence, earning call-ups to both the US national team and the Iranian national team. But with the Quakes attempting to decrease their reliance on long balls into the box from the wings – one of Beitashour’s biggest assets – giving him a large raise that could instead be used to add attacking help elsewhere might have been counterproductive.

Doyle and Watson both reiterated that the Quakes remain on the hunt for one or two more attacking players to round out San Jose’s 2014 roster. Presumably, the allocation funds picked up from Vancouver will help in that quest.

The move leaves newcomer Brandon Barklage – who joined the Quakes from New York via the Re-Entry Draft last month and signed a new deal last week – as the club’s leading candidate at right back. Barklage had 10 assists over the past two seasons with the Red Bulls, who converted the former midfielder to defense after he tore both ACLs in successive years with D.C. United.

Despite making 26 appearances for New York’s Supporters’ Shield-winning squad from 2013, Barklage found his option declined by the Red Bulls in November.

“I was a little bit shocked by the decision,” Barklage said. “We decided to go separate ways, and I think this is a very good spot for me. My intention is just to come in here and work my butt off, hopefully impress the coaches enough to gain a spot in the [first] team.”