Garth Lagerwey provided hints Wednesday as to where the Sounders are likely to invest in the wake of Obafemi Martins’ sudden departure.
Garth Lagerwey is a man of many caveats.
A conversation with the Seattle Sounders general manager feels very 1850s prospector, sifting through the yeah, buts and I wouldn’t rule that out for nuggets of insight.
Yet Wednesday morning following the team’s practice session at Starfire Sports Complex, Lagerwey provided the clearest hints yet as to where the Sounders are likely to invest in the wake of Obafemi Martins’ departure.
The team added an international roster spot and Targeted Allocation Money for General Allocation Money in a trade with Toronto FC on Tuesday.
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Below are the highlights of the Lagerwey’s interview:
- On the value of Targeted Allocation Money versus General Allocation Money: “It gets confusing and makes my head hurt. TAM can be used in fewer circumstances than GAM can, but TAM allows you to buy more expensive players. Again, we lost a DP so we have a bunch of cap space anyway. Having a little bit more TAM makes us able to afford maybe a second player that’s worth a little bit more. I’d even say there are some scenarios where you might even see us sign more than two, and maybe spread that TAM and GAM money over more players.”
- On whether there’s any rush to replace Martins: “I don’t want people to think we’re sitting on our laurels and admiring all of the good work we did in the offseason and not trying to improve the team. But likewise, there’s absolutely no reason to be reactive or panicked about who we’re going to add. We think we have a very good team.”
- On the benefits of waiting until the summer transfer window to complete a big-name signing: “You can sign the same player a couple of weeks later, have them eligible July 4 when there are 18 games left to play, and he comes in at half the cap hit. … You might choose, for example, to identify players on a short-term basis and wait to sign until he’s free at the end of his spring season. You could still get him in the primary window and even if you couldn’t, you can get him in over the summer. If he’s not playing in the Euros or Copa America, he could still have a preseason before he starts with us on July 4 when the summer window opens.”
- On the team’s most pressing need: “We need to get collectively better. We need to get more creative. I do think that Andreas (Ivanschitz) has done a great job in terms of pushing the ball forward from that advanced position. I worry about what we might look like if anything happens to Andreas. We have to have a little bit more variance in our attack. … If you put our best 11 on the floor right now, we’re pretty solid. I don’t see any holes. I don’t say, ‘Hey, I have to replace this person who is not able to play at a high level.’ In that sense, a young player can be better, as well, because they can be a little bit more complementary. They can play as part of a rotation.”
- On the further-reaching implications of Martins’ move to China: “It changes what was a pretty 2016 focus — like we have to try to win in this window because these guys are getting older – to a little bit more of a long-term goal. Which is not to say you’re not trying to win in 2016, but it allows us to balance our roster from a salary cap perspective, from a position perspective, in a way that I think is more sustainable.”
- On what kind of player the Sounders are targeting as a potential third Designated Player with Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez: “We are going to look younger. We are not wedded to things. If we find an older player who’s the best player out there at the best value, that’s who we’re going to sign. But if you’re looking at a lineup where you have nine guys that are 30 years old, that is not sustainable. That’s not a knock on any of those guys. They are some of our best players. We hope they stick around forever. But we have to hedge our bets a little bit.”
- On whether the team might add more players than just another DP: “The challenge for me is that it’s a long season. It’s a 10-month season. What happens when guys can banged up? Who can you plug in? Does that player look like the guy in front of him? So that you don’t have to change how you play when you change who you play. We have the ability to get better there.”