The MLS Players Union yesterday released revised salary information to reflect the myriad in-season moves across the league. For the Portland Timbers, these figures remain quite similar as personnel changes have been minimal. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Portland’s changes are reflected in the increased wages and decreased allocation money entering the offseason. That statement is dependent on the status of Ryan Pore‘s loan deal with Montreal Impact. The salary list does not indicate who is covering the rest of Pore’s $80,000 contract. Presumably Montreal is paying at least part of that salary, which would help the Timbers to slightly reduce their overall wages.
Below are the players who were traded away from the Timbers during the season, with their base salary listed first, followed by their guaranteed compensation. The base salary is what counts against the salary cap while the guaranteed compensation reflects exactly what Merritt Paulson is actually paying them. The other half of the Adam Moffat trade to Houston was allocation money, so we should remember that Portland is now shorter in that category (which is, of course, unlisted).
Jeremy Hall: $80,000 / $129,000
Adam Moffat: $56,700 / $56,700
$136,700 / $185,700
Here are the players added by Portland during the season. The Timbers increased by $53,000 their wage bill relative to the salary cap, though only added $23,000 to guaranteed compensation. That discrepancy is directly related to Jeremy Hall‘s status as a Generation adidas player.
Eric Alexander: $46,750 / $46,750
Mike Chabala: $67,500 / $75,833.33
Lovel Palmer: $75,000 / $86,250
$189,250 / $208,833
The only other change to the Timbers’ salary lists is the increase of Jorge Perlaza‘s guaranteed compensation by $15,000. I do not ever expect to hear an explanation as to why this change occurred, and frankly it does little to change the overall picture of Portland’s wage commitments.
Jorge Perlaza: $100,000 / $100,000
Jorge Perlaza: $100,000 / $115,000
Based on these revised numbers, the Timbers have done very little to improve their wage bill ahead of the 2012 season, even if half of Pore’s $80,00 has been picked up by Montreal. One can only assume that money will either be made more available than it was this season or players will be dropped in favor of cheaper, younger replacements. The two players I assume will not be with the team in 2012 based purely on financial considerations are Kevin Goldthwaite ($110,000 / $126,666.67) and Adin Brown ($72,000 / $76,000). The Timbers can certainly find suitable players who contribute as much, if not more, for less than half of those salaries. Portland could also lose a player to Montreal in the expansion draft. That is unlikely to be one of those on higher wages, but it is possible that a player like Rodney Wallace could be left unprotected. His salary ($90,000 / $139,000) is higher than every other defender save Goldthwaite.
While the club continue to suggest that they are angling for big time players in 2012, their plans and strategies remain hidden to the public. Often in MLS, the use of allocation money is a means to acquire higher priced talent without taking as significant a hit against the salary cap. Though the Timbers surely have allocation money, they have also used it in trades that brought Jack Jewsbury, Sal Zizzo, Mike Chabala and Lovel Palmer to Portland. Whether the outlay of that money was related to the Timbers’ failure to secure Juan Toja (or whoever the promised but undelivered creative midfielder was) or simply acquired as a means to make trades, rather than signings, is unknown. That cash has been used wisely as each of the three trades have upgraded the Timbers in important and different ways. But allocation money is not infinite and Portland cannot make roster moves by that method forever.