So general that the championship-caliber core is no longer viewed as being as extensive, untouchable or, well, as championship-caliber as it once was.
The Angels could be looking at changes at first base, second base, shortstop and right field, besides changes to a rotation in disarray and a bench that was inadequate from the start.
The acquisition of a proven run producer the caliber of Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Beltran or Brian Giles to play right field, so that Salmon can become a full-time designated hitter, is not the only priority. Perhaps it's not even the only outfield need, considering that some in the organization believe Erstad has to be moved to first base if he's ever going to have an injury-free season again.
The failure of middle infielders David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy to return to 2002 levels has raised the possibility that neither will be in his current position or uniform next year.
The release of Kevin Appier, the inconsistency of Ortiz, the rehabbing of Aaron Sele and the regression of John Lackey and Jarrod Washburn (pitching with shoulder ligaments injured in the spring) would seem to have created the need for at least one front-line starter beyond the hope that Chris Bootcheck, Ervin Santana or another farm product may be ready
If unlikely to trade their top prospects, the Angels are not restricted financially, Moreno said recently, by the $15.67 million owed Appier for cleaning out his locker or by the important contract decisions involving Anderson, Troy Glaus, Troy Percival and others after the 2004 season.
"Are we going to change everything?" Stoneman said. "No. Are we going to change some things? We haven't zeroed in yet, but my guess is, yes. We still have plenty of season left to look at guys, make judgments and determine what adjustments and how many are needed."
So, there it is.
A year after winning the World Series, the dog days have become nothing more than that for the reeling Angels -- an audition for some and a survival test for others.
Down from the clouds, it's business as usual in Anaheim.