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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Keith Law - On the Trouble of Getting Players to Play in Toronto.

    Speaking on his time in Toronto under JP Ricciardi the General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, he stated that Ricciardi believed strongly that the Blue Jays had to over pay to attract talent north of the border. Mr. Law himself believes that aside from tax consideration (an increase of 10% or so) there was very little evidence to back up that assertion. Though he admits it is something that would be impossible to quantify and thus prove.

    Law states that in his opinion enticing players to a given city is entirely about money, but in a severely financially restricted league such as MLS, do other factors play in a player’s decision? If the money or contract on offer is standardized across the league, does location, spousal amenities, and other factors become a consideration in the decision making process?

    Toronto FC has had a history of overpaying for players, as per some unusually high contracts – Chad Barrett comes to mind. Whether this is actually an issue is completely up to interpretation, but may go some way to explain some of the more peculiar salaries and difficulties in acquiring players in the early days of the franchise.

    Perhaps the lure of playing in the Dutch School under Aron Winter and Bob de Klerk, as well as the notoriety of Paul Mariner and Jürgen Klinsmann in soccer circles have assuaged these difficulties as this year acquisitions have seemed more willing – Richard Eckersley, et al. Though, that having been said, players such as Nick LaBrocca – now tearing it up for Chivas - and Alan Gordon – a force in his time with TFC – sought moves for reasons other than football.

The conversation comes up in the 31st minute of today’s (September 22nd, 2011) ESPN Baseball Today podcast in response to the question of whether factors such as ballpark compatibility are considered as free agents make decisions on where to ply their trade.

You can follow Mr. Law on twitter, or check out his blog for movie, book, food and other thoughts and reviews.

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