When a team is officially eliminated from the playoffs, fan interest quickly turns to the off-season plans. After the Vancouver Whitecaps were mathematically eliminated on Sunday, be the Seattle Sounders, it was no different. Fans began to look ahead and determine who on the team needs to go and who should stay. Not surprising, after a disappointing season, many fans are calling for a complete revamp of the Whitecaps roster. I am going to chalk that up to frustration as it is a foolish suggestion, and it would probably result in an even poorer season next year. No matter the team, when bringing together a bunch of strangers it takes time to form a partnership. The ideal is to weed out a percentage of the team (I would estimate 15-20%) while keeping your core intact. Moreover, change or no change does not guarantee success. For example, two of the poorer teams last season, and expected to do poor this season, Colorado Rapids and New York City are near the top of the Supporter Shield standings, while the two MLS finalists, Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew, are looking more and more likely to miss the playoffs this season.
What might be the most frustrating about the Vancouver Whitecaps 2016 season is that, on-paper, they are a good team. As I have noted in previous write-ups, this is not homerism. This is not a fan/writer of the team thinking their team is better than they actually are. No, the belief that this is a good team on-paper is held by many around the league. The problem, it seems, is that they are not good as a team. What I mean is that they are good individuals but not a good unit. This might be due to coaching, lack of balance in on-field duties, or something else entirely. Regardless, it is very clear that what is currently happening with the Whitecaps is not working.
Some have suggested that the losses of Steven Beitashour and Gershon Koffie last off-season have been strong contributing factors to the team’s poor performance. While I see the argument, I do not feel it is necessarily the cause; although I feel the loss of Beita was more impactful. The argument made for the release of Beitashour was the Cap. Now, whether that is the entire answer or not is a different argument. Getting to the point of this article, what many people fail to take into consideration when determining who should stay and who should go is the salary of each player. Although some teams have found ways to circumvent the salary cap (looking at you especially Galaxy) it is something that every team must deal with in some fashion. This means that sometimes you need to make unpopular decisions (Beitashour) and sometimes you need to find hidden gems (Jacobson). If you are not able to balance these things, and make the right choices with your DPs (something Whitecaps have been poor at), then there is not a lot of hope for success.
I am sure that we will discuss in-detail over the next few months who should stay and who should go. However, from a broad perspective, it is important that we consider the salaries (and the salary cap) of players. With that in mind, I have put together a list of 2016 Vancouver Whitecaps, their salary, and their roster position. I have a ‘Salary Hit’ column that I have excluded from this table, as it is almost impossible to determine given all the funny money teams can use and how we have NO IDEA how much each team has.
A few notes. First, the MLS roster is to be 28 players. By default, teams are given 8 international slots. The Whitecaps, I believe, have 11. The salary cap is 3.66 million and includes only the first 20 roster positions. Generation Adidas (Christian Dean), and Homegrown players are off-cap. I organized the table by DPs, Internationals, Domestics, Off-Cap, and in salary order (greatest to least).
|Last Name||First Name||Roster Position||2016 Guaranteed||2016 Salary|
|Morales||Pedro||Designated Player (1)||$1,471,400||$1,232,500|
|Laba||Matias||Designated Player (2)||$720,500||$560,000|
|Smith||Jordan||International (9) -Loaned In||$122,743||$115,000|
|Fraser||Aird||Domestic -Loaned In||$58,625||$51,500|
|Teibert||Russell||Off-Cap (Homegrown 1)||$182,500||$115,000|
|Davies||Alphonso||Off-Cap (Homegrown 2)||$62,500||$62,500|
|Froese||Kianz||Off-Cap (Homegrown 3)||$70,500||$66,000|
|Bustos||Marco||Off-Cap (Homegrown 4)||$67,350||$62,500|
|Carducci||Marco||Off-Cap (Homegrown 5)||$63,000||$63,000|
|McKendry||Ben||Off-Cap (Homegrown 6)||$52,500||$52,500|
|Levis||Brett||Off-Cap (Homegrown 7)||$65,000||$62,500|
|Adekugbe||Sam||Off-Cap (Homegrown 8) -Loaned Out||$75,000||$70,000|
|Seiler||Cole||Off-Cap (Domestic )||$51,500||$51,500|
|Flores||Deybi||Off-Cap (International 10) -Loaned Out||$68,385||$62,500|
|Dean||Christian||Off-Cap (Generation Adidas 1) -Injured||$191,000||$110,000|
Based on salary, which players jump out as you as players that are not playing to their salary and which are solid bargains?