It might be as simple as this: If Jason Isringhausen pitches well today against the Kansas City Royals, he will be an Angel.
If not ...
"I'll just go home and be with my girls," he told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, referring to his 9- and 2-year-old girls back home in Illinois.
The issue is a section in the new collective bargaining agreement that stipulates teams must pay major-league veterans on minor-league contracts an extra $100,000 if they keep them on the roster past today. The Angels probably wouldn't shell out that kind of money to evaluate Isringhausen for a few more days.
Isringhausen isn't interested in spending any more time in Triple-A, and it's hard to blame him considering he's been in the majors since 1995, is third on the active saves list with 300 and has been through three Tommy John surgeries.
He didn't pitch well early in camp, so this could well be his final stand.
When I talked to him last week, he sounded a little conflicted about the whole thing anyway.
Isringhausen, 39, missed all of 2010 and didn't expect to pitch last season until a deal came together at the last minute to join his first team, the New York Mets, for spring training. He wound up making it and had a decent season (4.05 ERA) after everyone thought he was retired.
"I can do without baseball, I just can’t do without the competition, the adrenaline, the one-on-one battles," Isringhausen said. "All the traveling, all the nonsense that goes on with everything, the monotony. ... It gets a little old.
"This is my 21st spring. I sat out a year and nothing compares to facing hitters. It's still a lot of fun."
Will today be the last major-league hitters he ever faces?