Last season at this time, the Washington Nationals were entrenched in daily debate as to when and if Stephen Strasburg would be shut down as they prepared for the playoffs.
This season, the Nationals are in position to start preparing for next season. The playoffs are the furthest thing from their thoughts.
The 2013 season has been nothing short of a disappointment, and some players might not make it to next season.
Let's take a look at the five likeliest players who will not be back next season.
Drew Storen is arbitration-eligible in 2014 and currently resides in Triple-A after being sent down at the end of July.
Storen was at one time the star closer of the Nationals. But after breaking down in Game 5 of last season's NLDS, he has not been the same.
The Nationals will have to straighten out their bullpen situation in the offseason. With Storen struggling, he might be the first one to go.
Although he has been a solid option for the Nationals, Kurt Suzuki will likely be signed elsewhere after this season ends. His contract is up after this season unless the team exercises its option, and Wilson Ramos is under contract until 2017.
With Ramos yet another year removed from surgery, it appears he'll go back to being the everyday catcher.
Denard Span was supposed to be the table-setter for the Nationals this season. He was supposed to be that missing piece on offense that pushed the Nationals over the hump to get to the World Series.
It has not worked out that way for Span and the Nationals.
Span is currently on pace for a career-low on-base percentage. His career .350 OBP is lowering this season. Span is only getting on base at a .315 clip.
Span is signed through next season but will certainly be a trade piece that another team would be willing to take a chance on.
But with the wealth of talent in the outfield in the minors for the Nats, it should not be the Nationals.
The Nationals thought they were getting a pitcher who would solidify their rotation as the best in baseball. Instead they signed a pitcher who struggled all season long.
Haren has seemingly turned it around in the second half of the season, but it is likely too little too late. A 4-10 first half with a 5.61 ERA might have been his ticket out of D.C., despite what he does the rest of the way.
With all of his past shoulder troubles, Ryan Zimmerman needs to transition to first base sooner than later. The player who will be affected the most in this scenario will be Adam LaRoche.
Although LaRoche is signed for one more season (with an option for 2015), it will not be worth it to the Nationals to keep Zimmerman suffering at third base simply for LaRoche's sake.
The Nationals should be able to trade LaRoche, even if they have to eat some of his salary. First base needs to be opened up for Zimmerman to avoid any further issues.