That, ladies and gentlemen, is a $137 million white flag you see being waved atop the Big A. As was suspected after he re-aggravated his foot on Friday night, the Angels announced that Albert Pujols has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot and will quite likely miss the rest of the season.
As devastating as that might sound, it is actually a stroke of serendipity for the Angels who have been putting on a charade for the last few weeks that they might not decide to sell or possibly even buy. Now they don't have to pretend anymore because the long awaited decision on shutting down Pujols was gift wrapped for them when he came up lame with that tear. Now he is either going to have miss several months for the tear to heal or get surgery that will keep him out three months to repair the damage. Either way, he isn't coming back, even if the Halos aren't announcing such due to some misplaced marketing ideas.
With Pujols out of the way, the Angels can continue their transition into an evaluate and sell strategy that they covertly began earlier this month. First it was increasing Hank Conger's playing time, then Brendan Harris was cut loose in favor of Tommy Field and more recently, it was moving Garrett Richards into the rotation in place of Joe Blanton. Moving forward they will, hopefully hand most, if not all, of Pujols' playing time to Kole Calhoun to see just how much everyone's favorite Triple-A slugger is capable of producing at the big league level.
Calhoun won't be the last of the call-ups though. Rumors are already circulating that the Angels have placed Scott Downs, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick on the trading block. At least one of those guys will be shipped out and minor league reinforcements will be promoted, even though the Angels don't have all the many prospects ready for the Show. Maybe they will just see what lesser prospects like Matt Shoemaker, Andrew Romine, Luis Jimenez and Michael Roth are capable of as they audition for depth roles in 2014, or they can go with a trial by fire for the likes of Taylor Lindsey, Nick Maronde and C.J. Cron.
Whoever gets traded or promoted is incidental at this point because whatever they do, it is all about figuring out what the Angels need to do to position themselves to return to contention in 2014.
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Yeah, sure. Go ahead and trade these guys. No big. Now, how about we leap into Blasphemy Territory with both feet and suggest trading Mike Trout for a boatload of prospects? It's kind of like the Torii Hunter thing: we ain't winning with his glorious leadership, let's see what we can do without. And with more usable bodies. It's not like his time in Anaheim has been so wonderfully fun and win-filled that he feels like he absolutely must stay. There won't be any signing the free agent Trout by the Angels. Target a few teams with outstanding farm systems and vacuum up the best match for us. Might as well do it now while the Angels are in the process of rebuilding their own farm system.
Come on, somebody wanted to say it. Don't tell me your own self-esteem is tied to one guy with other-worldly stats.