There's a rather significant list of things the Seattle Sounders liked about Herculez Gomez. The 33-year-old is a proven scorer, has played in a World Cup, is a positive locker-room presence and even has ties to Seattle. Based on those criteria alone, there would be reason to like this signing.
But the cherry on top? Signing Gomez won't impact the Sounders' ability to bring in some high-priced talent.
"Toronto is on hook for the contract," Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said according to the Tacoma News-Tribune. "To be clear, all of our ability to sign a Designated Player and potentially even a player beyond that is still intact. It's why I say it's a good value signing for us, and a really good veteran."
How is this possible? The key is to think about the Kenny Cooper situation last year. That time, the Sounders ended up being on the hook for most of Cooper's salary after he was waived and eventually signed by the Montreal Impact. This time, it's the Sounders benefitting from Toronto FC doing something similar to Gomez, who apparently signed a one-year deal that paid him about $250,000 through June 2016.
It's unclear if the Sounders signed Gomez to an extension that would keep him through the end of 2016, but Lagerwey's comments suggest that even if that happened it was for a nominal amount.
The signing of Gomez, then, appears to be virtually all upside. The Sounders get the veteran forward depth they've sorely lacked and can still pick up the creative midfield force they've hinted at needing. Not much not to like at this point.