Turn out the lights, Los Angeles Angels; the party is over. It’s time to clean house.
Like many of the MLB teams that have witnessed their collective greatness morph into more of a collective confusion, the Angels now have the unwanted freedom to focus on the future.
Surprised? Yep, me too.
It's the final stage of a disappointing season. With little left to be written in this Hollywood-scripted blockbuster gone terribly wrong, the organization faces a daunting reality: Because of risky moves over the past few seasons, the team is in difficult position. One they have not had to juggle for the better part of a decade.
But it's here now, staring directly at the coaches and ownership.
They have to think about rebuilding the pitching staff—bullpen and starting rotation—without breaking the bank, losing any more top-tier talent in the farm system or adding any more dysfunction to team chemistry.
They have to think about Mike Trout...and that will begin this offseason, lasting up to his sure to be LeBron-like free agency in 2016.
Moves will be made simply based on the salaries owed to Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Vernon Wells next year. And those moves may not be all that easy to comprehend and swallow.
Undoubtedly, players wearing the Halo Red today will not be there once the 2014 season begins. And as the team slips further down the AL playoff picture, there are simple questions the Angels need to be reviewing and answering sooner than later.
Who's in? Who's out?
For the "in," look to players like Joe Blanton (sorry, that's true), J.B. Shuck and Peter Bourjos (unless a crazy trade occurs), and most of the arms currently in the bullpen (with different responsibilities next year).
The "borderline" group—Chris Nelson, Hank Conger, J.C. Gutierrez and Collin Cowgill—will have to wait for their judgment during next year's spring training. But they are by no means exempt from a release.
The “out’” is a little more extensive. No person can predict that far ahead, especially when dealing with a team so out of sorts. These five players will most likely not be around in 2014 (or sooner).
Note: All stats provided were courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.