When the field of players eligible for Phase One of the MLS re-entry draft most assumed Toronto FC would pass when it came time for their sixth overall pick. That theory only got stronger when players, Mauro Rosales and Brian Mullan included, opted out of the tournament. Toronto continue to deny the odds this offseason, however, by selected Real Salt Lake striker Robbie Findley.
What makes Findley's selection so surprising is not his position, not is it what he will bring to the table. Findley does fill a hole with Toronto FC, the team has lacked forward depth, but it is hardly the most pressing issue for the side. He has proven to be a successful striker in this league, last season notwithstanding. What truly makes this surprising is the financials behind it all.
Findley's 2014 salary was listed at $215,000, and considering his experience in the league Toronto will have to pay his 105% of that salary. This ups the salary to $225,750, substantially more than the club should be paying for a playing of this calibre. The salary cap might be going up this offseason as the players association negotiates a new deal, but it is still a risky signing.
As aforementioned, Findley does have plenty of experience in the league. He has 38 MLS goals and 15 assists to his name in 146 career games with the Los Angeles Galaxy and RSL. Last season was hardly his strongest, as injuries limited his playing time and resulted in his only playing 16 games, starting 8, and scoring one goal.
The move continues to make Jermain Defoe's future with the club look uncertain, even if reports this week indicated that QPR may not be as interested in the striker as was originally believed. But having a safeguard in case he does leave is important nonetheless, and it seems Toronto see Findley as a potential replacement. At best Findley can be an effective striker in this league. In 2009 he had 12 goals and 4 assists. However, since then he has failed to manage more than six.
Only two other players were selected in the draft, and therefore listing the entire thing would be pointless. Both players acquired were goalkeepers. The Montreal Impact used the first overall pick to select former Sporting Kansas City keeper Eric Kronberg. With the second pick, the San Jose Earthquakes selected Andy Gruenebaum, also formerly of Sporting KC. All other teams in the draft passed on their selections.
Phase two of the re-entry draft takes place on December 18, where Toronto will once again have the sixth overall pick. This may well be the last year of the draft as a more open free agency is agreed upon in the CBA negotiations.