Mista Is Here….. Now What???
First off apologies for not posting in a few days and also apologies for not recording/posting my usual video blog after the Houston match. Frankly I have been sick as a dog and am still shovelling down the Buckley’s Mixture the way a rummy pounds back the hooch. Kind of hard to think about writing when you are dealing with phlegm in significant quantities. I did take some pretty decent video from the stands on Canada Day and I will put together a video that I will post later this evening showing you all how amazing it truly is in the south end of BMO Field….. But for now … back to business.
So the Spanish flag flying over the south stands last week actually meant something eh? Since the draw last week against Houston, TFC has of course gone out and done what the rumour mill said for weeks they would do, which was to sign Julian DeGuzman’s former teammate in Spain, Mista. He is eligible to play away against Philly on July 17th when the international transfer window re-opens after the World Cup. I do not profess to either know enough about him to pass judgement on if he will be the right signing to address what has been the single most glaring problem for the club over the past few games or not. Nor will I hazard a guess as to how well or not well he will do. Until we see him play in this context and in this league I think it is frankly a waste of everybody’s time to speculate.
As I have been commenting on in this space for months now, TFC is in a very tight logjam when it comes to the salary cap and allocation dollars. There are scant resources left in the kitty to upgrade the club on the field through signing of new players. With that in mind there are some puzzling aspects to the mechanics of how Mista’s contract has apparently been set up. Most pundits thought for sure in advance of his arrival that Mista would be signed to what is known as a “half season designated player” type of contract where only 167k of whatever his wages were would count against the salary cap. However it appears that Mista was not signed to a DP contract at all. MLS practice to this point (I checked) was to announce with some fanfare each and every time a designated player was signed to a contract. Nowhere in any of the releases from TFC did it mention that Mista was on a DP deal. The Canadian Press, The Toronto Sun and the CBC all stated that he IS on a DP deal when they reported the signing yesterday.
Of course getting concrete information from Toronto FC is often as difficult as getting it out of KGB Headquarters would be. When the opportunity presents itself to be clear, even then TFC often chooses to be vague and opaque. I have it on good authority that Mista is NOT on a DP deal but it would have been nice to hear it from the club and hopefully some scribe asks the questions soon enough this week and gets this cleared up, assuming Mo emerges from his bunker at the undisclosed location long enough to actually take some questions.
Why do I care you might ask? And why should TFC fans be concerned with this contractual stuff? Well first off, until we know exactly how much this guy is making (which will take a month or so for the League/Players Union to release the actual data) I think it is fair to assume that based on his pedigree from La Liga, Mista is probably making more than 167k for the remaining twenty odd Games TFC may have to play this season in MLS and in (hopefully) the Champions League. Every single penny he gets counts against the cap. Going this route in my eyes means that yet even more precious cap/allocation space is gone that could be used to bring in yet more talent to address other areas that need to be upgraded (wing and fullback positions for example). Signing him to the DP deal would have allowed Toronto to have some additional thousands in hand that could have been spent elsewhere. In a cap league where the median salary is just a little over 100k (and with guys making as little as 40k on the bottom end) every dollar in hand counts. If the arrangement is to give Mista a small deal now that is less cash then a DP hit on the provision that if he proves himself he gets a bigger deal next season, then I say great. But based on past history I do not think TFC’s brain trust are that swift. Prove me wrong Mo! Prove me wrong.
In time we will all be able to judge if this move was the right one. Today the jury is still out. Club officials are spinning Mista as a “Dichio” type player with the ability to both finish and hold the ball up in similar fashion to TFC’s first true hero. Whether that perspective is corporate propaganda or not remains to be seen. Whether signing him to a non DP deal works out to be the right move or not will I guess remain to be seen as well.