A few days ago, rumors began to surface that Vancouver Whitecaps starting centerback Tim Parker could be on his way to New York Red Bulls, with former Montreal Impact Felipe Martins and/or allocation money coming back to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
At first, the suggestion that Parker might be moved was absurd to most fans. As is common at this point in the season, rumors are plentiful and are often quickly dismissed; even when the team accidentally releases a highlight video of an unsigned player. However, it began to surface that Parker was looking for a significant raise over the $99,600 he made last season, and that the Whitecaps were not willing to go as high as Parker was seeking.
Per source, I'm hearing that Tim Parker turn down a deal from Vancouver that would be three years in the ballpark of $1.4 million dollars during that span.— Kristian Dyer (@KristianRDyer) February 22, 2018
As the story has progressed, many Whitecaps fans, while sad, seem to be warming up to the idea of Parker moving on. This is especially the case when the rumor is that the Caps would be receiving upwards of $1 million in allocation money. This is not surprising, given the recent trades that have occurred in MLS and the amount of Garber Bucks that have been bandied around.
$300k -> $350k -> $375k would seem fine to me, over 3 years.— Expected Brenton ★★★ (@CapsOffside) February 23, 2018
I think other teams would offer more than that, though.
While I could continue to quote various sources and get their takes, I feel you can do that yourself by searching Twitter. Let’s get into the meat of the argument here. Is this a good idea for the Vancouver Whitecaps (and Tim Parker).
The Vancouver Whitecaps have a little bit of depth at center back, but not really at the same time. If Parker were to leave, that would move Doneil Henry or Aaron Maund into the starting lineup. If the Caps do not resign David Edgar, that would mean that while Kendall Waston is away at the World Cup, there would be no depth should Henry and/or Maund receive a red card, yellow card accumulation, or injury. Not exactly the place you want to be in.
While center backs do not grow on trees, it is one of the positions that North America has been fairly good at producing. Although Parker is certainly a good center back, it isn’t like the Whitecaps can’t find another suitable replacement.
Please let's not pay $500k for a solid CB. Parker is good, but he's not great, and that's an 8th of your cap space.— Expected Brenton ★★★ (@CapsOffside) February 22, 2018
The move could work in the Whitecaps favor as well, given that MLS teams are notorious for over-valuing American players. Remember last season how upset so many people were when they found out that the Caps were moving Manneh to Columbus? How did that work out for the Caps? I think pretty good!
Why am I the only one happy about the caps profiting off over valued American players like Parker and Manneh. ♂️— Hugh Bolaños (@HighOnCaps) February 22, 2018
If the high amount of allocation money rumored to be in the deal is true, then the Caps should have the money to acquire a suitable replacement AND upgrade at another position. Of course, it isn’t like the Caps are low on allocation money currently. The large sum of money is only useful if management actually uses the funds. As it stands, there is no real ‘need’ for the money, given that the Caps only have one designated player in Kei Kamara (Brek Shea too, if he doesn’t get bought down). As a result, the Caps could sign literally anyone right now and it would only cost $480k to the salary cap.
Looking at the positive for the Whitecaps, one of the issues the club has faced is their inability to play out of the back. It has led to a lack of possession and a lack of creativity. How often do we sit there watching a game, and see the Caps play it around the back, the opponent sit back, and for Waston to just hoof the ball up the field for a jump ball? Although Kah had his faults, it was the last time the Caps had a center back who could actually pass the ball consistently.
One of the knocks on the Whitecaps center backs is that they are too similar. Yes, Waston and Parker are both good at what they do. The problem is, they do the same thing, and for the most part have the same deficiencies. Vancouver is not going to sit Waston or Parker. That would be crazy. However, by playing both they create a passing problem. Maybe the solution is to move one. If you can get a team like New York to pay a pretty penny, for a player that is, potentially, replaceable and wants a significant raise that the club is unwilling to meet, then maybe you pull the trigger and look forward to the bright future.
From Parker’s point of view, I am sure returning to his home state of New York (even if the Red Bulls play in New Jersey) is appealing. In addition, playing alongside Waston, and in Canada probably does not help his marketing globally, and especially with the US National Team. If he is wanting to make in-roads there, he might be better served in New York, being the #1 guy. While Parker has shown himself to be in the same league as Waston, as far as quality, it has been shown by Carl Robinson that this is Waston’s team and Parker is playing second-fiddle. There is nothing wrong with being second to Waston, but it could be that Parker wants more and seeing the success young players at NYRB have had at moving on (e.g., Miazga).
We could be a ways away from seeing Parker leave the Whitecaps, or it could happen before you finish reading this article. It could also end up like so many rumors each year and nothing materializes. However, this rumor seems to have recent legs, from teams beyond New York, and doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. If the price is right, I could see the Caps moving Parker and actually being better off for it.
Will it work out? Who knows, but I will say again: Remember your feelings just one year ago about Manneh potentially moving on?