Toronto FC have officially traded midfielder Matias Laba to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for cash. No, in this case cash is not a Portuguese wonder kid who will help the team finally make the playoffs. Cash is money, and by the sounds of it a substantial amount. How much exactly what not announced, but may make its way into the public eye in the near future.
"Finalizing terms and acquiring funds will assist us as we continue with our strategic planning at both the youth and first team levels," said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a club press release. "This could be used to help the financing of current or future Designated Players as well as other initiatives to improve our club."
Few will be happy to see Laba depart, as he proved this season with Vancouver that he truly is an excellent player in this league. He is exactly the type of player who would work perfectly alongside Michael Bradley, which makes this even tougher. The return isn't going to thrill either, as funds have hardly been the issue for the club in the past. It is hard to look at all the talent on Vancouver's roster and think that Toronto couldn't have found some way to include on of them in the deal.
There was also the fact that Tim Bezbatchenko seemed pretty sure that Laba would be returning when he originally made the move. There was belief amongst the fanbase that it was almost like a lone deal, and that no matter what Vancouver would fail to pay the "substantial" fee to keep the Argentine. Ultimately, it looks like Vancouver has called Toronto's bluff and get a top MLS midfielder for no roster assets.
The club has promised a new approach and a lot of the speculation surrounding the team this offseason has at least indicated the right mentality. But this move sure seems like the kind of mismanagement that has become synonymous with the club.