The Sounders website featured an article yesterday that provided more information concerning the changes to the DP rules. Here is the pertinent passage:
Under the new variation to the Designated Player rule, teams would take a reduced hit for players who qualify under the DP rule, but are under the age of 23. Players 20 years old and younger will now count $150,000 against the projected $2.67 million salary budget for 2012 while players 21-23 would count for $200,000. Those figures are down from the $335,000 hit that players over the age of 23 count against the budget under the rule.
This means that neither Flaco or Fredy will fall under the rule because they are both too old, though their respective contracts would have been effected if the rule had been in place at the time of their signings. AH indicated that the team has already actively begun scouting players who can be brought into the organization utilizing this rule.
One notable omission from the content of the article was any indication in changing the number of DP slots that would be available per team or creating a seperate number of DP slots regarding this change. Consequently, I expect that the maximum number of DP slots will remain at 3 for the 2012 season and that the biggest change will be in the budgetary hit to a team's cap if they use any of the 3 on younger players. I would expect that Flaco's DP slot will open up as the transaction fee comes off of the books. His 2010 salary was listed at $300K by the player's union. He could be given a raise and the team could still keep his salary under DP status either as a straight salary under 335 or utilizing allocation money. The team could then use this DP slot for Rosales and their third DP slot for a young gun. If FM is moved in the off season, that would open up another potential slot. Though I hope that the Sounders will have his services for another season, particularly if they advance to the CCCL knockout stages.