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In huge news for Major League Baseball, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has announced he’s exploring a potential sale of the franchise.
News broke Tuesday about the possibility:
With later statements making it seem like a near certainty that the team will be sold:
This will have far reaching consequences throughout the major leagues, not just the Angels organization.
Moreno has been a divisive and controversial figure within MLB. While he’s spent big money on no-brainer moves like retaining Mike Trout, he’s also meddled with baseball operations personnel.
The organizations relationship with legend Rod Carew deteriorated so severely that Carew celebrated the news today:
Fired manager Joe Maddon also said recently that “infrastructure needs to be improved” in order to achieve success in Anaheim.
He continued, “These guys can’t do it alone, obviously. It’s the non-sexy stuff that has to get better. It’s not just bright, shiny objects — they have that.”
During Moreno’s tenure, the Angels have had a poor record in free agency. Albert Pujols’ signing from the Cardinals turned out to be a disaster, with Pujols’ performance almost immediately declining.
LA spent tens of millions per year on the Hall of Famer, only for him to have five consecutive years of negative WAR, according to Fangraphs.
The Angels been unable to develop or acquire quality pitching, making only one playoff appearance while having Trout, one of the best players in baseball history.
Even defensible moves like signing Anthony Rendon from the Nationals have been a debacle. Rendon has played 155 games in three seasons.
This will also obviously have huge repercussions for Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani will be a free agent after the 2023 season. The franchise could be more appealing if Ohtani is traded. A deal would save new owners the necessity of signing him to a gigantic contract.
Trout is also owed huge sums of money for most of the next decade. Would Moreno consider trading him in order to clear the books before the team is sold?
This scenario played out with the Washington Nationals, who traded Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres before the team is sold.
So could two of the most talented players of their generation could be available this offseason in order to make the team more attractive to potential buyers? Or could new owners prefer to have the ability to sign Ohtani to an extension and keep Trout on to placate concerned fans?
It seems more likely that Ohtani, at least, is traded. Even though he’s only signed for a year, someone with his unique abilities could mean a huge prospect return for the franchise.
Whether or not the new ownership goes the Dodgers route, pouring tremendous resources into the organization and turning the Angels into a recurring powerhouse remains to be seen. They could also go the opposite direction and tighten the financial belt to increase profitability.
One thing is for certain though, the Angels being up for sale is going to create a fascinating series of possibilities in the coming months.