What can Quakes fans expect for a 3rd DP?
“We fully expect to be maxing out our DP spots. That’s something that the fans should understand.” – Dave Kaval
Quakes president Dave Kaval promised a 3rd designated player last November for the fans to see play in the new stadium, but the rumor mill has been relatively quiet for the club. In the midst of an extremely busy MLS offseason, there have been little to no rumors regarding the Quakes even entering the bidding for any of the big MLS newcomers. Mix Diskerud, Sacha Kljestan, Jozy Altidore, Cubo Torres (was on loan from Chivas), and Steven Gerrard have been among the big names that rumors have circulated around in the MLS for the 2015 season, and the Quakes haven’t even bothered to throw their name into the bag for any of them.
It seems that John Doyle, Dominic Kinnear, and the rest of the Quakes front office have their minds made up on what type of player they are targeting. It seems that they definitely have their own targets in mind. The USMNT players that have showed interest in returning to the States from Europe would surely sell tickets in the beautiful Avaya Stadium, but the Quakes haven’t even bothered entering the sweepstakes for any of those players.
Additionally, it seems that every time a big name comes up, the same three or four teams are the only ones that are rumored to have a chance of landing the player. LA Galaxy, NYCFC, NYRB, or Toronto FC. San Jose Earthquakes GM John Doyle has called the team a “small market” team in the past, despite the fact that the Quakes play in the same market as Buster Posey and the Giants, Steph Curry and the Dubs, Joe Thornton and the Sharks, and Patrick Willis and the 49ers. The Quakes are owned by Lew Wolff, who also owns the Oakland Athletics. Ultimately, it seems that the “small market” mentality is something that has trickled down from the top of the ladder. This mentality has led to a lot of success for the Oakland A’s, and it seems that Wolff wants to embrace it and milk as much as he can out of it.
So for the Quakes, I think it is safe to say that they will not be landing a Steven Gerrard-type player. The third designated player will come, but it’ll likely be a more lowkey name. Matias Perez Garcia exhibits astounding technique and skill, but he simply does not have the same “ticket-selling” power right off the bat. He can certainly prove to the Bay Area that he is worth watching, but he won’t attract the attention that a Gerrard might. Embracing the small market mentality is something the Quakes might have to get used to, unfortunately. It is possible for a team to be successful without the “big name” players, as we have seen in the past. Just look at the 2012 season. A few key pieces put together created one of the most exciting teams in MLS history. Newcomers like Simon Dawkins and Victor Bernardez helped secure a Supporters Shield – the first success that the Quakes had tasted since the Spartan Stadium days. Yannick Djalo was the clubs latest experiment in the 2014 contest, but injuries sidelined the Benfica forward, and hindered the teams progress as a whole.
So this “small market” mentality has its ups and downs, just as being a big buyer does. Look at Toronto FC for example. The front office in Toronto seems committed to playing all their chips by signing big players, (Jermaine Defoe, Michael Bradley, even Julio Cesar for a short period of time), and perhaps expending academy quality or other important aspects of being a football club. So Quakes fans shouldn’t hang their heads just yet. We’ll just have to wait for the rumors to come in.