Cutting the fat in 2014

Times are tough.

Wages are down, hours are hard to come by, and the Christmas crunch is starting to settle in and begin it’s caffeine-and-alcohol fueled grip on the backs of our minds. At Angel Stadium, the grip is no less. Payrolls are coming due and several members of Mr. Moreno’s club will be receiving a raise this coming season. C.J. Wilson will be due an extra $5 million, Albert Pujols will be due an additional $7 million, and just when you thought the Ghost of Outfielders Past had left for good, Vernon Wells shows up to collect his $18.6 million check.

It appears wages aren’t down for EVERYBODY.

Bottom line is, Arte Moreno has got to cut the fat. With stadium remodels imminent, the Big A appears to be a prime candidate for a financial once-over. At the same time, ticket prices will almost definitely need to be raised, so it can’t be anything glaringly obvious.

Let’s start in the team pro-shop. Majestic Athletic garments made in the USA? No, no no. That’s waaaay too expensive. Send an intern down to Wal-Mart and find out where they get their knockoff stuff. Look for a factory in Bangladesh or something. It’s official pro shop merchandise, so we can still run the same price AND save on production costs. That won’t work for the players though. They’ll need durable uniforms, but maybe there’s way to cut a corner. Why not launder all of the uniforms together in one washer load? No more separating reds from whites. From here on out, Home uniforms are pink and away uniforms are red. It’ll go over great when the MLB does their breast cancer awareness campaign and the Angels are already pre-pinked. There’s gotta be some advertising dollars in it too! More money to throw at the problem!

More work is required. There are a bunch of little things here and there to save a buck. One idea: Stuff the t-shirt cannons with last year’s merch. Maybe there are a few boxes of Salt Lake Bees shirts to fire off. Hell, just throw the players’ used jerseys in there and have a fan go home with a game-worn souvenir. While we’re on the field, let’s switch Mike Scioscia’s pasta stash from fresh lasagna to frozen. Mike’ll have to deal with Stouffer’s until the club starts winning and justifying ticket prices. Lastly, in a move to bring more fans back to the ballpark, let’s also stop paying the rights to use “Buttercup” at the 7th inning stretch (still not sure why people hate that song).

Clearly, none of these are real options, and even if they were, there’s still the matter of the luxury tax. There’s no where to go but up for prices, but maybe that’ll hold true for the team. Sure, Albert Pujols isn’t getting any younger and Mike Trout is still waiting for the phone to ring to discuss a contract extension, but there’s still plenty of upside. Don Baylor’s joined the team as hitting coach. Trade talks are abound and while Texas struck the trade market first (sending Ian Kinsler to Detroit and acquiring Prince Fielder), but the Angels are poised to make moves this offseason. The money is going up, but the team may be taking steps upward as well.

If not, it’ll be nothing we haven’t seen before (albeit at higher ticket prices).