I was able to get in touch with Sounders FC general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer over email recently.
While he declined to address reports that forward Fredy Montero is set to join Colombia’s Millonarios on loan, he did provide some insight into the team’s offseason strategy.
First off, and you may have read similar comments first at Sounder at Heart, Hanauer said Seattle would not move a designated player unless it opened up another designated-player slot on the roster.
The Sounders, of course, have the maximum of three DPs currently: Montero, Mauro Rosales, Christian Tiffert.
The indication then is that if Montero is indeed loaned out, the team would be able to replace him with another high-priced player. At least in theory. In reality, the Sounders “are currently considerably above the 2013 salary cap,” Hanauer said.
Therefore a DP-for-DP swap wouldn’t much appease the financial constrains of the salary cap since all DPs hit the cap at the same price.
So what’s that mean? Well, it means there are likely more moves to come to become salary cap compliant by the start of the MLS season.
Here is some further explanation from Hanauer: “As (majority owner Joe Roth) and I mentioned at our end of year business meeting, we are willing to look at any and all options for improving the team for 2013 and beyond. This may or may not include moving one, two, or three of our Designated Players, along with other players on our current roster.”
Wait, three DPs could be moved?
Well, along with the Montero reports, a Chilean team is reportedly interested in Rosales, who has struggled to stay healthy for postseason the past two years. The 31-year-old Argentine in the past has also expressed interest in finishing his career back home. And Tiffert may have a shorter leash in 2013 after recorded no goals and three assists in 12 games last season.
So why are the Sounders in such a tight situation with the cap? Well, carrying three DPs will always make things tighter (few teams in the league do). Seattle also didn’t qualify for the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, which means the team didn’t receive a reward in allocation money like it had the past three years.
(As a quick note, allocation money, among many things, allows MLS teams to essentially spend in excess of the salary cap.)
Additionally, the large lump of allocation money received from being an expansion franchise back in 2009 has essentially dried up going into Year 5. You might have noticed a successful team like Real Salt Lake had to make significant changes to the roster this offseason due to financial constraints.
Such changes, it appears, could be coming soon to Seattle, which has already seen its two-time Defender of the Year in Jeff Parke traded to Philadelphia.