Angels Owner Arte Moreno Says He Had Five Trade Offers For Shohei Ohtani, Three Serious Bids To Sell Team

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Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has had quite an eventful offseason.

After previously announcing his intention to sell the team, in January, he made a stunning about-face. Instead of parting ways with the organization, he had decided to stay on.


That decision came without much explanation, other than saying he was “not ready to part ways with the fans, players and our employees.”

Moreno recently gave a much longer explanation to SI about the offers he received, why he stayed, and what the future holds for his team’s most important player.

Shohei Ohtani Arte Moreno
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 30: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 30, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Moreno Got Huge Offers For Angels

According to Moreno himself during the interview, he didn’t keep the team because of a lack of offers. In fact, he claims to have received three serious potential offers that were vetted by Major League Baseball.

The offers were all apparently well in excess of the record $2.42 billion that Mets owner Steve Cohen paid for the team in November 2020.

How far in excess? Over $200 million, with one rumor suggesting he was offered somewhere close to $3 billion.

The business of baseball is very, very good. Even after government-imposed shutdowns.

“I had some big numbers,” Moreno said. “Yeah, it was above the Mets’ number. Well, it was considerably above the Mets number. I think I have one offer on my phone I can show you I got that was not only what I was looking for, I got more.”

So why didn’t he take any of these massive offers? Essentially, he just wasn’t ready to let go of the team.

“I had one buyer come to close the deal,” he continued. “I said, ‘You want to walk around the stadium?’ He said, ‘No, we just wanted to come in.’ And so, we talked and talked. He brought a group with him. They all just sat and talked.”

“Then I said, ‘You know, you’ve got to walk around the field here. Let’s go to the field.’ We walked around the field. It’s just the two of us. And then he says to me, ‘I see in your eyes that you don’t look like you’re ready to sell.’ And then he goes, ‘If you don’t want to sell, I want to be your partner, and whatever you want to sell to me, I’ll buy.’

“I couldn’t do it,” Moreno said. “In my heart, I just couldn’t go through with it.”

Still Cheap, Despite Massive Profits

In just 20 years, Arte Moreno has turned his $183 million investment into a franchise worth $2.6-3 billion.

That amounts to a return on investment of 1,320-1,539%, not including the huge amount of profits he’s raked in on a year-to-year basis.

Even so, he still doesn’t believe in spending more in an attempt to win a championship. He was one of just four owners, along with the famously cheap Reds, Tigers and Diamondbacks, to vote against increasing the luxury tax.

He also displayed a dramatic lack of self awareness, dismissively hand waving off suggestions he got a “great deal” on the Angels.

“So, when I bought the team, everybody thinks I got this really great deal,” Moreno said. “I was the high bid. It’s something a lot of people tend to forget. Okay?”

Apparently turning a $183 million investment into ~2.75 billion in 20 years does not count as a “really great deal.” Nor did it sink in for Moreno that being the high bidder is almost always what wins.

That type of thinking has Angels fans terrified of a Shohei Ohtani-less future. But Moreno is adamant about not trading him.

Ohtani’s Future in Anaheim

Moreno says that during the 2022 season, the Angels had numerous trade offers to send Ohtani elsewhere.

But he was committed to keeping him, saying there’s no way to replace him on the roster.

“We had five real offers for Ohtani,” Moreno says. “People say, ‘Why didn’t you trade him?’ He’s one of the best hitters and best pitchers and he’s probably the most popular player. Nobody’s going to give us three major league players for him or else they would have to empty out their minor league system. But how do you replace him? You don’t.”

He’s aware that Ohtani wants to win, something that hasn’t happened in Anaheim.

“I think Ohtani’s had fun here,” Moreno says. “He wants to win. I think he likes the lifestyle of Southern California. But as he said, ‘I just want to win.’ So obviously everybody who puts the uniform on wants to win a World Series.”

Even so, he went on the record that the team won’t deal Ohtani if they’re contending for a postseason spot.

“I will say it on the record,” Moreno says. “We will not trade Ohtani while we are contending for a playoff spot.”

What about if they aren’t? Well, based on their expectations to contend, he said he wouldn’t answer.

Moreno’s previously said he wants to try to re-sign Ohtani. But given his comments on money, that may not be possible.

Ohtani’s going to command a record-breaking contract, because as Moreno himself said, he’s irreplaceable.

If that happens without a trade, the Angels will have gotten nothing out of having a historic talent on the roster.

Will that be how it plays out? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, despite being the high bidder for the team, at least poor Arte Moreno will have his black Bugatti to enjoy.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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