Reasonably reliable word has filtered through to the Onward! offices that Toronto FC will announce the identity of its 2009 Designated Player on or about January 6.
This is the man who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the newly-signed Dwayne DeRosario, in the quest to lift Toronto FC into eventual contention in the wide-open world of Major League Soccer.
Whispers abound the DP will be a Canadian – but not Deportivo La Coruna’s Julian DeGuzman. Does this mean Tomasz Radzinski? Can’t say either way, but Ali Gerba’s not DP material, so let’s call Radzinski an officially unofficial rumour.
The deeper question, of course, is whether the DP is a good deal? As presently constructed, TFC can pay this guy the moon and the stars, but the first $400,000 (all figures U.S.) still counts against the already-tight MLS salary cap of $2.3 million. Yeah, there are odd little allocation rules that can fudge that a bit, but not much.
This raises the very real probability that, as the DP comes in, at least one name TFC player will be heading out.
Even with Carl Robinson’s selfless and generous acceptance of a pay-cut, Robbo, DeRosario and the DP will gobble up the first million all by themselves. That leaves $1.3 mil for the remaining 17 spots on the roster.
Suddenly, the $185,000 Honduran international midfielder Amado Guevara pocketed in 2008 looks a lot like an unaffordable luxury. There’s already concern about he and DeRo would carve up the attacking midfield role. It’s not like DeRo can’t scream home a free kick.
Striker Chad Barrett has already been locked up for the next few years – which must include a raise from the $61,000 he earned this past season.
With Barrett’s cut on the rise, how are we all feeling about Rohan Ricketts’ $200,000-plus? Everyone loves this guy personally, and he scored a couple of ripper goals. But I still feel far too many searching balls found their way to Ricketts’ feet – and were never seen or heard from again. With that much money on the line, is he really worth it?
And yes, Danny Dichio also took a pay cut. But will he play enough to be worth the cap hit?
With any luck, in another year, MLS will have raised the cap nicely, and we won’t still be in this mess. Until then, though, this remains a league where four or five guys on each team get paid, and the rest struggle by on as little as $12,900 (U.S.).
Two questions to debate, then:
1) Is signing a DP worth the money it sucks out of the rest of the TFC roster?
2) If someone’s got to go, who should it be?
As long as we’re all heavily snowed in, let’s fire ourselves up a blazing comments section.