Lenarduzzi feels trading Tim Parker for Felipe has made Whitecaps stronger with potential to “concede less goals”

Lenarduzzi feels trading Tim Parker for Felipe has made Whitecaps stronger with potential to “concede less goals”

Well the saga is finally over and Vancouver Whitecaps centre back Tim Parker has finally departed for pastures new. Or he’s heading back home to New York, depending on how you want to spin it.

Despite the talk earlier in the week that he could still remain a Whitecap, the writing seemed pretty much on the wall that the ‘Caps were going to lose one of their key defensive pieces, but the return they got back for the 25-year-old should certainly sweeten the deal.

As we’ve talked about several times in the past two weeks, Parker simply wasn’t worth the $1.4 million over three years deal that the ‘Caps were offering him, never mind his demand for more than that. You can’t overpay for potential in a league like MLS, especially in the position of centre back. But if someone else wants to, then bite their hand of if the deal is right, and this case, what is coming back from New York Red Bulls is certainly the right deal.

Not only do the Whitecaps get long sought after experienced midfielder Felipe Martins, they also have $225,000 of 2018 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), $275,000 of 2019 TAM, and a 2018 international roster spot heading west from New York Red. Plus, as part of the deal, the ‘Caps will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee if Parker is transferred outside of MLS. I don’t know when Dick Turpin was hired by the ‘Caps to do their contact negotiations but well done.

A nice bit of business. but losing Parker two days before the new season gets underway was far from ideal though. With Doneil Henry out injured, it leaves the ‘Caps with just two serviceable centre backs to partner Kendall Waston against Montreal on Sunday and one of them, Jose Aja, only arrived with the team this week.

“Obviously we would have preferred to have done it sooner, but the one thing we didn’t want to do was to do a bad deal,” Lenarduzzi told reporters at the Whitecaps media day on Friday afternoon. “We were quite prepared to actually have him back. He had a year left on his contract.

“So for us it was trying to find out what was available out there. There was a lot of interest in him and the deal that we’ve done, we think that we’ve got a player who can certainly help us in Felipe, and we got 500 of TAM that has enabled us to invest that in other assets that we currently have.”

As disappointing as it is to see a key player move on, Lenarduzzi feels that the Whitecaps are “a better club now because of the deal that we’ve done”. So did it all simply come down to money?

“It was a question of us giving him what we thought was our best offer,” Lenarduzzi revealed. “And when you look at American centre backs around the league, it was a very good offer. Between him and his agent, they chose not to accept it, so at that point it was something that we needed to decide, okay, so what do we do.

“So we looked at if he was going to move, and we could become a better club as a result of moving him, then we would entertain that option. So we had conversations with a lot of different clubs.”

Lenarduzzi confirmed that most of those conversations were with clubs out east, and there wasn’t one Western Conference side showing any real interest. But the Parker camp had no say in where he would end up. For the Whitecaps, the only thing that mattered was getting what they wanted in full in return and they were equally happy to wait it out until they got it.

“It would have been something that we would have prepared to have gotten done sooner,” Lenarduzzi reiterated. “But it wasn’t something we were prepared to compromise our position for and if it meant him staying, then we were prepared for that too.”

In the end, it all worked out for both parties. The Whitecaps got a whack in return, the Red Bulls got a defender they’ve coveted for a while but were previously told was “a non starter”, and Parker got a move back in the midst of his family.

All good, but one thing Lenarduzzi wasn’t particularly pleased about was how the contract and trade talks were played out in the public realm of social media towards the end of it all.

“It is disappointing, because you wonder where the information comes from,” Lenarduzzi said. “It wasn’t us! But I think when you get into dialogue with a player as high profile as Parker is, and more than two people know, then I think there’s a good chance this stuff is going to come out.

“For us, we weren’t prepared to comment on it at the time because there wasn’t a deal done, but I guess it makes for interesting conversation on the social media side.”

In a lot of ways, the way it all played out actually benefitted the Whitecaps. If Parker had just been traded out of the blue, the ‘Caps fanbase would have thrown fits, accusing the club of being clueless and accusing them of being cheap. With the advance knowledge that this was coming, the shock element was removed and a number of fans had turned on Parker for what was perceived as being greedy or overvalued contract demands.

There’s also the question of just how good is Parker now, and how much better could he be or will he be?

When he wasn’t beside Kendall Waston, he often was not as commanding in the box, and his distribution skills were often lacking, and for all of the Whitecaps strengths last season, they shipped 49 goals and had a goal difference of just plus one.

The majority of those matches were with a Waston/Parker partnership, so breaking that up doesn’t necessarily make the ‘Caps weaker, a point very much noted by Lenarduzzi.

“I don’t mean this is any disrespect to Tim or to Kendall, but we’ve leaked a lot of goals,” Lenarduzzi stated. “We’ve given up a lot of goals over the last two seasons, so I guess if I were to flip that on it’s head, ideally, with a different pairing, we get better at that. We concede less goals.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Gino at 18:38

    This team needs a complete overhaul if I’m being honest don’t know what we’ll seeing especially if Robbo continues with that diamond formation and the revolving door lineups game by game I have 2 season’s tickets and if this team doesn’t at least get to the 2nd round of the playoffs this season will be considered a failure and I won’t be renewing. I am tired of watching football that puts me to sleep I want to see attacking and fast paced football.

  2. Pete at 19:28

    Thats okay Gino. Don’t let the door …

  3. Zoli at 22:16

    With the personnel Robbo has now, at least on paper, it looks like the Caps could play either a 3-5-2 or 4-2-3-1 and, for the first time, maybe the Caps won’t have to rely on hoofing it up field to counter-attack. In Aja, the team has a CB who’s apparently more comfortable than any other Caps CB with the ball at his feet, and Juarez, Mutch and Felipe–on paper at least–seem like players who can keep the ball. so it seems the Caps now have the ability to hold a bit of possession when the game calls for it. So I’m curious to see whether Robbo can be flexible enough tactically to make use of the new options, or if he ends up straight-jacketing the team into the same-old same-old. I thought some of his comments last year in interviews right after they lost to the Sounders were aimed as much at the FO as at fans and players. I remember him saying pretty bluntly that the team got as far as it could with the players he had, and if people want a different result, then he’d need different (better) players. The Caps haven’t signed a splashy DP in the offseason, but when I look at who left and who’s come in, I see more quality up front (on paper), and more versatility (on paper)–especially in midfield. So if the Caps stumble once again at the West Semifinal, or fall short of that benchmark, altogether I wonder if Robbo’s leash may not get significantly tighter. It seems to me the FO gave him what he’d asked for: 18 players out, and replacements of apparently higher quality with, greater tactical flexibility. The onus this season has to be squarely on the coach.

  4. Mattock at 08:46

    “You can’t overpay for potential in a league like MLS, especially in the position of centre back.” The league just gave the owners license to lolly out with the new to this campaign $2.8 million in discretionary TAM, available at least for two years.Yes, it comes out of the owners’ pockets, Kerfoot may have to put on hold the new Zamboni machine for his private rink, but if the Caps really wanted Tim to stay, they could have utilized 10% of that new largess and brought him down to say $275-300,000 cap hit. He has been a Clydesdale – you can get a lot of work from him -and he has remained off the trainers table, (and you sense that will continue.)

    Is he worth it? I think with the owners sucking back all that lovely expansion dough, lucrative sponsorship, increasing gates and who knows what from SUM and potential side deals with Beelzebub ( I can’t confirm that), the league has to at least be seen ( prior to the next CBA in a few years) shelling out for domestic players – they frequently overpay for imports, so every team should have one or two of the domestics getting more lucre than they may deserve (in the Caps case, that is probably – till confirmed by the players union this summer- Teibert and…)

    If all scenarios are rosy, Tim will have 6-8 good years left and could possibly be classified as one of the better domestic CB who stayed ” at home.”

    I thought Felipe was a great signing for the Impact, really enjoyed his verve, but when I have see him play the last few years, he seemed to have plateaued, not quite the player pulling the strings in the midfield. I think he will make the starting X1, be decent, have a few crackers and also appear to be human.

    Judging by the feedback on the MLS site about the trade, he will be vying with TAD (Touch And Down) Techera for the Caps Greg Louganis Award, getting a close up of the turf when ever possible.

    So many pieces and only one wordy,witty,and wise(?) gaffer – will he figure it out? He should this weekend, and if Mutch and Felipe work out, he can talk to “already in his corner” Lenanrduzzi extending his contract till the rapture arrives.

  5. Zoli at 09:35

    Parker was far from a finished product, and I’m not sure he’ll ever be a fully rounded CB. I liked his grit, but his distribution was limited, and at times–especially when not playing beside Waston–his positioning could be suspect. I’m not sure his football IQ is as high as some may think. I rarely agree with Lenarduzzi, but I thought he had a point when he suggested the Caps have shipped a fair number of goals over the past couple seasons with Parker in the line-up, so it may be no harm to try a different combo in the middle. I’m looking forward to seeing how Aja’s distribution, combined with midfielders who may be able to hold the ball, will play out this year. I’m hoping they can–finally–“build from the back,” as Robbo likes to say. I liked Parker a lot during his time here, but I’d have been disappointed if the Caps had signed him for more than their apparent first offer, and I’d have been even more disappointed if they’d used TAM to do it. They’ve started investing a bit more in the attack, and now may have the scouting expertise to actually get better attacking talent. I want creative, attacking soccer. And if that’s the case, I’d rather see that TAM spent up front than on a “more-of-what-we-already-have” CB, no matter how much I respected his work ethic and ruggedness.

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