Whenever talk of teams trading for designated player slots begins, one team always linked to the discussion as a seller is the Columbus Crew. It is a natural reaction given the Crew’s status as a small-market team, and the lack of obvious candidates to come in through that slot.
As far as Crew president Mark McCullers is concerned, assuming that Columbus will part with the DP slot is a mistake.
"It’s funny people that people identify us as being a team that are looking to trade our slot but it’s really not my desire to trade it," McCullers said. "I want to utilize it. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity and our hope is to find the right player who is the right fit."
McCullers acknowledged that teams have approached Columbus about trading for the slot, but asserts that Crew ownership is committed to using it once a suitable player has been identified.
"It’s a big investment so we want to conduct our due diligence," McCullers said. "Our owners have said very clearly that they’re willing to invest for the right player, at the right level and for the right reason."
Does this mean Columbus won’t trade the slot under any circumstances. McCullers admits that the club would listen to significant offers.
"Everything’s for sale, let’s be real, but our approach is very simple," McCullers said. "We are going to do what’s in the best interests of this organization. If somebody makes us a great offer that’s in the best interests of our team then we’ll consider it, but right now we haven’t seen anything close to that and we’re not out looking for that kind of deal."
As a team with a good core of young and talented players, the Crew could position itself to be a serious contender if it found a marquee player to lead it, much the same way Cuauhtemoc Blanco catapulted the Chicago Fire last season. The teams that have been identified as looking for a DP slot (Los Angeles, Chivas USA and Chicago) all have draft picks and cash to make a deal happen, but not the depth of veteran players it could package together to make a trade attractive for the Crew. As young as Columbus is, the last thing the Crew needs is draft picks.
What do you think Crew fans? Should the Crew deal the DP slot for a package including veteran players, draft picks and cash? Or is Columbus a designated player away from being a force in MLS? Share your thoughts below.