Major League Soccer Designated Player Discussion

MagnusPax

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I thought it would be interesting to talk about Designated Players in MLS. I saw a few posts that were mentioning that MLS might lift the limit to 4 in the CBA. However I also saw the arguement that if many MLS clubs aren't using 3 now, why raise it. Good questions.

Lets look at where the DPs are in the league now:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Designated_Player_Rule

60 possible DP slots/40 used

Chicago Fire - Igboananike (1)
Colorado Rapids - Torres (1)
Columbus Crew - Higuain (1)
D.C. United - Johnson (1)
FC Dallas - Diaz, Texiara, Castillo (3); Castillo was a DP...
Houston Dynamo - Beasley, López (2); Garcia no longer a DP
LA Galaxy - Keane, Gonzalez (2); if Torres comes, theres another DP
Montreal Impact - Piatti (1)
New England Revolution - Jones (1); Bengston gone
New York City FC - Villa, Lampard (2)
New York Red Bulls - Cahill, BWP (2)
Orlando City SC - Kaka (1)
Philadelphia Union - Maidana, M'Bohli, Edu (3); M'Bohli confirmed DP
Portland Timbers - Ridgewell, Viera, Adi (3)
Real Salt Lake - Morales, Saborio, Jaime (3)
San Jose Earthquakes - Wondo, Garcia (2)
Seattle Sounders FC - Martins, Alonso, Dempsey (3)
Sporting Kansas City - Besler, Bieler, Zusi (3)
Toronto FC - Defoe, Bradley. Gilberto (3)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC - Morales, Laba (2)

Agree? Did I miss one?
 
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USAfan6

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Well I think financially the league is more the capable of handling the 4 DP slots, but that could create a lot of separation from the big market teams (Seattle, LA, us etc.) vs the smaller market teams that may not be able to handle more than 2 DP's. Its an interesting question, if they don't add a DP I think the salary cap should go up a little higher to around 5 million or so, but Twellman did say they will not keep it at 3 DP's so I bet one is added.
 
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MagnusPax

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While its possible, I do think the concept of expanding it while other clubs don't even use it is exactly the kind of rule single-entity exists for. I think MLS board of govs will loathe to change it up too much, even though several more big spenders has joined the board.

Also, just read that Chicago is adding another DP this week:
https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/544338151960227840

Steven Goff‏@SoccerInsider
Barring late snag, @ChicagoFire to buy Ghanaian F David Accam, 24, from Helsingborg & sign him to DP deal. #mls
 
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Midas Mulligan

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Kinda surprised how few teams are actually using all 3 DP slots.
Make them transferable, and all that would change. Seriously. That little change alone would jump things forward and almost ensure that every spot was filled. I wrote a long post about my thoughts on the economic incentives it would provide and how they would impact the league and respective have and have-not teams.

Went back and found it:
Agree that it is likely going that way, but there is so much that has to change before then. It wouldn't make sense to start trashing the plan that got you this far when you can make more incremental progress by adding DP slots.

I think maintaining some elements of the player acquisition process will work to incentivize player development while not marginalizing teams with lower budgets. The one change I'd really like to see is making at least one of the DP slots transferable. Assuming the number goes to 4, it would ensure that all 80 DP slots are filled. If a DP slot were transferable, the market would drive those transferable slots to the clubs most willing to spend the most (thus, at least theoretically, buying the highest quality players, if the $ = quality assumption is true). In acquiring the additional slots, the wealthiest clubs would be providing additional funds to the clubs who don't have the budget to buy the best potential players (those "worth a DP slot"). With the windfall this would provide, in the long-term, those have-nots would have more money to pour into areas such as their academy, facilities (thus developing better players for their squads/selling). In the short term, they could gain allocation monies that would buy down player salaries so that we don't have many situations where a club's (and thus one of the league's 80) DP slots is filled by a player/s making $450k per year. So what's that start to look like? To me, it starts to act like a gradual raising of the salary cap, except that this method effectively "raises the cap" in a way that correlates closely with MLS clubs' respective desire to increase spending on player salaries.

This is an interesting topic from the perspective of someone who is inclined to enjoy economic theory, and there are myriad ways this could impact, mostly for the good from best I can tell, the full spectrum of MLS clubs. I'd like to go on, but I actually have to get some work done to support my own economic interests.
 

Kjbert

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I love the idea of making a 4th DP spot transferrable.

Let's say you could sell an unused DP spot for cash, MLS SuperDraft pick, allocation money, etc. Colorado, Columbus, etc. could acquire some decent assets for an unused spot.

I didn't realize that 40 out of the 60 spots were used. That's a lot higher than I thought. With Orlando and New York joining, the success of certain individual players in DC and New England, I think you will see 45 DPs used by the beginning of the year.

Maybe instead of making a 4th DP available - allow teams to trade an unused DP slot or the 3rd DP slot.
 
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MagnusPax

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I guess what I was saying was MLS probably won't want a situation where LA has traded and has 5 used DP spots and NE Revs are using 1.

Considering Revs owner Kraft is one of the oldest on the board I'm sure he has a lot of power. He is probably against change.
 

Ahab_Flanders

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I guess what I was saying was MLS probably won't want a situation where LA has traded and has 5 used DP spots and NE Revs are using 1.

Considering Revs owner Kraft is one of the oldest on the board I'm sure he has a lot of power. He is probably against change.

Yeah, while I like the idea of bringing money/assets into smaller market teams, I'd be worried about creating a situation where the 5 DP money clubs (LA, Seattle, maybe us) are out of reach and the other teams are essentially fighting for 3rd or 4th from the first game of the season.
 

Midas Mulligan

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Yeah, while I like the idea of bringing money/assets into smaller market teams, I'd be worried about creating a situation where the 5 DP money clubs (LA, Seattle, maybe us) are out of reach and the other teams are essentially fighting for 3rd or 4th from the first game of the season.
The counter-argument is that just signing DP level players doesn't win you matches. You still have to evaluate and acquire the right players, hire the right coach and put together a strong squad that complements your big signings. Look at Toronto. They are hot garbage, and they outspent everyone.
 

MagnusPax

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The counter-argument is that just signing DP level players doesn't win you matches. You still have to evaluate and acquire the right players, hire the right coach and put together a strong squad that complements your big signings. Look at Toronto. They are hot garbage, and they outspent everyone.
This theory, however is becoming less and less relevant. The teams that aren't investing are already falling behind. See Colorado, Chicago, Houston etc as meddling teams. While there are statistical outliers, Crew are good one, without much investment, even the "smaller" teams aren't smaller. Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, Sporting KC, all traditional low-ballers, have 3 DPs each.
 

Kjbert

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I think the argument is that if you want another DP slot - and you had to trade for it - you would have to trade a pretty hefty amount.

Let's say Seattle wants Mix Diskerud, but can't get him because they already have 3 DPs. What if they could trade allocation money, straight cash and/or a guy like Jordan Morris.

If I was Columbus last year and I couldn't close a deal with Mix, but Seattle could - wouldn't you trade an unused DP slot for Jordan Morris, $1 Million and some allocation dollars? You could argue that Columbus would be better off that way.
 
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Kjbert

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If he's only gotten a single call up to the Honduran national team, you'd have to think that they could get him on less than DP wages, right? I'm not sure I'd love that.

Maybe there was a transfer fee involved?
 

MagnusPax

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Is anyone reading this thread or just posting the same news over and over?
I think the argument is that if you want another DP slot - and you had to trade for it - you would have to trade a pretty hefty amount.

Let's say Seattle wants Mix Diskerud, but can't get him because they already have 3 DPs. What if they could trade allocation money, straight cash and/or a guy like Jordan Morris.

If I was Columbus last year and I couldn't close a deal with Mix, but Seattle could - wouldn't you trade an unused DP slot for Jordan Morris, $1 Million and some allocation dollars? You could argue that Columbus would be better off that way.
That wouldn't happen, because Seattle would break their salary cap if they traded $1 million to Crew in your scenario. Plus, in order to take on 4 DPs you are talking about 4*$387k (currently). Thats probably a 1/4 of your cap on 4 players, 3/4 left for the other 26. BTW One way I heard Seattle might sign another DP next year is to pay down Alonso's DP status to normal thus freeing up the DP slot.
 

Kjbert

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Is anyone reading this thread or just posting the same news over and over?

That wouldn't happen, because Seattle would break their salary cap if they traded $1 million to Crew in your scenario. Plus, in order to take on 4 DPs you are talking about 4*$387k (currently). Thats probably a 1/4 of your cap on 4 players, 3/4 left for the other 26. BTW One way I heard Seattle might sign another DP next year is to pay down Alonso's DP status to normal thus freeing up the DP slot.


Who said anything about using cash that would hurt the cap? I'm not talking about a transfer fee. I'm talking about the ownership delivering a bag of money to Columbus, OH.