If you have to sell a Tim Parker, then you've already made a mistake

 Tim Parker after a dubious decision by the assistant referee at BC Place

Tim Parker after a dubious decision by the assistant referee at BC Place

As per Kristian Dyer of the Metro New York newspaper, Tim Parker is said to have rejected an offer of 1.4 million over three years, or about $14,000 shy of the 2017 Designated Player threshold, and $58,000 less than he is reportedly seeking. All figures in USD.

Now, if you hadn't already realised by now, this is going to get a bit numbers heavy, but trust us, there's a point to it all.

According to the Players Union, Parker earned just shy of $100,000 last year. When it comes to professional athletes, $180,000 over three years doesn't exactly sound like a lot of money. But the Major League isn't like other leagues, in football, or in North America.

In 2014, Sportsmail compiled a list of 34 leagues from around the world and found that the average salary of a Major League player was 22nd, below that of the Greek Superleague, but above Columbia's Liga Águila.

The average Major League player's salary in 2014 was less than half that of a Liga MX player, and less than a quarter of what an EFL Championship player earned, which we'll remind you, is England's second division. Premier League players averaged around 17 times that of their North American counterparts.

When compared to the so-called "Big Four" North American team sports, the numbers become even scarier. The average Basketball player earned more than 26 times, Baseball more than 20, Ice Hockey almost 14, and Gridiron more than 10, all figures from the 2013-14 or 2014 seasons, respectively.

Now, that's a lot of numbers, and of course, the average full-time worker in British Columbia earns about $43,000, again in USD for the sake of comparison.

But professional athletes aren't your average worker. They have specialised skills, which when used properly, can generate millions for the club.

Now, Tim Parker is not the kind of player who is going to dominate shirt sales. He's a defender, his job is to prevent goals, not cause them, though he does help out at the opposite side of the park from time to time.

Still, of the top 25 selling player kits in 2017, only two were defenders. Atlanta's Greg Garza, a left back, was 18th, and joined on the list by four of his teammates. Roman Torres, a centre back, was 20th, and he did one better, by being joined by five of his teammates.

 Tim Parker questioning another decision by the Assistant Referee.at BC Place

Tim Parker questioning another decision by the Assistant Referee.at BC Place

Yes, a defender can sell you some shirts, but what's on the front matters a whole lot more than what's on the back. Atlanta and Seattle shirts sell, period. If Garza and Torres didn't play for those two sides, they wouldn't have been anywhere near that list.

So, back to the issue at hand; Tim wants low end Designated Player money. In a different league, he'd certainly get it. But the Major League has a salary cap. There are ways around it, TAM, GAM, LAG... that last one being a joke as Los Angeles Galaxy often seem to follow their own set of rules when it comes to the budget.

But at the end of the day, each club has a limited amount they can spend, and money always starts at the top and works its way down.

Neymar, Pogba, van Dijk, and Ederson commanded the most expensive transfers in their respective positions, with Neymar, a forward, costing $273 million, Pogba, midfielder, $125 million, van Dijk, defender, $105 million, and Ederson, goalkeeper, $48.6 million, again, all in USD.

So, after all this, we're left with a few facts. Major League players are paid poorly, both by footballing and North American team sports standards, and defenders are considered a bit of an afterthought.

But should they?

After all, the old adage goes that defence wins championships.

And Tim Parker is a rock. He's been Vancouver's best defender since Andy O'Brien left over... you guessed it, a contract dispute. That didn't work out too well for Andy, as he never played another game.

But that won't be the case with Tim Parker. At 25 years old, he has his whole career ahead of him. He's one of Vancouver's leaders in the locker room, and on the pitch, having worn the captain's armband on numerous occasions.

He might well end up doing the same for his country.

Now, there is interest from New York, DC, and Montreal. The Whitecaps might well parlay Tim Parker into something else that could help the team. They already acquired centre back Jose Alja from Orlando, plus David Edgar is still in camp, , and removed Parker from their Unity Kit advertisement. Parker is on his way out, it's just a matter of when, and for what.

But should he?

 Before and after of the 2017 Unity Kit graphic from WhitecapsFC.com

Before and after of the 2017 Unity Kit graphic from WhitecapsFC.com

The Whitecaps are giving up the kind of player that can be a defensive foundation and captain for the side. He's certainly made current Captain and fellow centre back Kendall Waston a better player. It took a while for Waston to tone down some of the, shall we say belligerent aspects to his game, and for Parker to know exactly where and when to cover the more adventurous Costa Rican.

There are a lot of rumours going around, but little substance. Manager Carl Robinson has already suggested that the club are planning to pay down Brek Shea's contract to open up a Designated Player spot. Should any deal involving Parker involve monetary aspects like TAM or GAM, we should hope to see the club go out and sign a marketable named talent. And that's kind of the key here. It's not always about what's better for the team, but what's better for the marketing department.

 Tim Parker after losing out on the 2017 Western Conference Championship in Portland

Tim Parker after losing out on the 2017 Western Conference Championship in Portland

When the 33-year old Bastian Schweinsteiger joined Chicago from Manchester United, his impact was immediate and profound. He transformed their midfield, and he sold a lot of shirts too. Despite joining midseason, the German finished second in shirt sales, behind only Atlanta's Miguel Almirón. But how much time is there left in those 33-year old legs?

Tim Parker, like Matias Laba before him, is one of those players who, when he's at his best, will go unnoticed. A goalkeeper on his day will make a highlight reel save. An attacking midfielder or forward will set up, or score, a cracking goal. But defensive players? Well, as the great Paolo Maldini once said, and former Whitecap Lee Young-Pyo loved to quote, "If I have to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake."

To paraphrase that, if you have to sell a Tim Parker, then you've already made a mistake.