Toronto FC are looking to rebuild their roster and become a competitive team in a short period of time. To do that they were always going to have to make the most of all the mechanisms that MLS provides for player acquisition. One of the key mechanisms is trades so it should come as no surprise when a number of TFC players are being speculated as potential trade bait. Richard Eckersley is not the only player who the club could be in a position to trade in the coming weeks but for any other trade to make sense at this point in time the club would have to be getting something useful back in return.
On Monday, a rumour started to make the rounds that Gale Agbossoumonde could be on the trade block with a number of MLS teams potentially interested in snatching up the young American CB. The problem with the rumour is the first place it appeared was one of those now infamous ITK accounts on twitter that just spew out a lot of rubbish hoping that some of it sticks. Anything that comes from an account of that nature is almost never more than a blip on the radar of people looking for more reliable news.
The problem is that since that initial tweet the rumour seems to have gained some traction and has gotten people talking about the idea of potentially trading away TFC's third choice CB. The rumour has now made its way around twitter and on to the MLS transfers blog as it only seems to be picking up steam.
The best way to look at a potential deal like this is to come at it from both sides as it is easy to make a case for and against trading away a player like Boss. So let's do just that.
For: Boss will head into the 2014 season as the club's third choice CB. By the end of last year it was clear that Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry were the starters for the club and that is not likely to change unless one of them goes down injured or suffers a horrible run of form.
If you look at other potential depth players on the TFC roster for next season it becomes clear that Boss would likely net you the most in return if you were to trade him. He is still fairly young, he is American, and looks to finally be getting his career on course after showing so much promise as a teenager before being shuffled from club to club for years. Any team looking to add him would view him as a potential starting CB down the road given the playing time he needs to continue his development.
Toronto is still in need of upgrades at some other positions so if they can get value in return for Boss the deal could make sense for them. A trade would likely have to be for a starting calibre player or for a combination of assets (picks, allocation) that could be turned into a starter. If they could pull that off it would certainly make them a better team even if it means a complete lack of depth at CB.
One name that could enter the mix is Oguchi Onyewu who is on his way out of QPR and could very well be heading to MLS with a number of teams likely interested in securing his services. He would be a big risk though given his injury history in recent years.
Against: After Henry and Caldwell the only real CB on the roster currently is Boss. Even if the club is looking at adding one from the draft which is quite deep at the position they would still need to bring in someone else to provide coverage behind the starters. There is a chance that TFC already have a plan in place to add another experienced CB but otherwise it makes little sense to get rid of a player who is affordable and gives you that much needed bit of depth at the back.
It would seem foolish for TFC to get rid of a player who could easily provide cover at CB just because he is not quite as good as they might have hoped for when they first won the weighted lottery to bring him in. CB has been a position of trouble for TFC far too often and having three stable options at that spot moving forward was a good start to addressing that concern.
Boss would also be hard to replace on a similar salary. You could grab a CB in the draft who might be younger and making less money but they would not have nearly the same level of experience as Boss has. They could also look to the academy but they does not seem to be a real option ready at waiting to join the senior team at that position. That basically means the club would have to find another way to bring in veteran depth.
A compelling case can be made for both sides which is the problem with any report like this. It is possible to convince yourself that it is completely believable and in this case it probably is. Toronto FC are looking to improve and part of that means shopping players around to see what sort of interest is out there. If they can find a trade that makes them better then I would imagine very few players on the roster would be off limits.
So do I think that Boss is heading for the door? No, not really. I do believe that the club would be open to trading him if the right offer came along and they felt they were in position to replace him so it is something to keep an eye on but at this stage so would be a number of other names on the roster. For the right price almost everyone is available.