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Vancouver signs Kenny Miller; a few of us just shrug

Cardiff City v West Ham United-Npower Championship-Playoff Semi Final 1st leg

CARDIFF, WALES - MAY 03: Kenny Miller of Cardiff City is challenged by Kevin Nolan of West Ham during the Npower Championship Playoff Semi Final 1st leg match between Cardiff City and West Ham United at the Cardiff City Stadium on May 3, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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Scottish striker Kenny Miller is on board as the Vancouver Whitecaps newest marquee man. His signing was announced Monday; Miller is coming over from Cardiff City.

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I like my increasingly threadbare, thirty-something Designated Players to arrive from slightly better club addresses. Or, at least, on better runs of form when performing in less tony neighborhoods. It just makes me feel a little better about things, slightly more secure in these high-value acquisitions.

Miller, 32, has 16 goals in 60 appearances for Scotland. He was still a reliable scorer for Rangers just two seasons back. So it’s not like this represents a complete flier.

He should do OK for the Whitecaps – but is “OK” enough return on the DP dollar? Plus, alarm bells start ringing when pricey DPs fall into the league on the way down. And if we’re being honest, Rangers to Turkey’s Bursaspor to English league Cardiff City and then to MLS … that’s a tumble down the global order.

Miller hit 10 times in 43 games last year at Cardiff. Not awful, but not awfully impressive, either. As Benjamin Massey put it at Vancouver Whitecaps blog Eighty Six Forever, “Miller’s career is a chorus of ‘pretty good’ and ‘not great’ over nine clubs and seldom at a huge level.”

Again, I’m not saying Miller won’t succeed; I’m just saying this is far from a slam dunk, especially considering the weight of DP expectations. And it looks even less slammy-dunkish consider what Vancouver did to arrange conditions for his entrance, trading away a proven MLS goal-scorer and hard-working man in Sebastien Le Toux.

Plus, Miller becomes Vancouver’s third DP, and No. 3 carries additional financial exposure. Clubs must pay $250,000 for that third DP slot (although there are ways to reduce that amount through the complicated allocation money acquisition methods). That’s why only three other MLS clubs have mapped their way into three-DP territory.

The Whitecaps are fourth among nine in the West despite problems scoring goals. Management clearly sees an opportunity here to do something special in the organization’s sophomore MLS season. Me? I’m not convinced Miller is the offensive answer at BC Place – not at a club that already has Eric Hassli, Camilo Sanvezzo and a fast-rising Darren Mattocks.