Arte Moreno explains why he didn’t sell the Angels, shares plans for Shohei Ohtani

Angels owner Arte Moreno attends a spring training game between the Angels and the Dodgers at Tempe Diablo Stadium on March 3. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

brown art i just couldn’t do it. The Angels owner, who put the team up for sale in August, told Sports Illustrated that he is not ready to give up on his team despite receiving three offers worth more than the record $2.42 billion that Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets for in 2020 . years.

“I had some big numbers,” Moreno said in an interview with Tom Verducci from Sports Illustrated. “Yes, it was above the Mets number. Well, that was well above the Mets’ number.

“A customer came to me [Angel Stadium] to make a deal,” he said, then recounted the exchange with the customer. “When you got right down to it, I didn’t want to go.”

Moreno has not spoken to local media for three years. His interview with Verducci represented his first detailed comments about angels in at least two years.

He told SI that the Angels had five actual trade offers last year Shohei Ohtani and stated that they will not trade him this year as they compete for a playoff spot. Asked if he would consider trading him if the Angels didn’t make the playoffs, Moreno said:

“We expect to be a contender for the playoffs. Everything that is in our plans regarding the composition of this team is related to the placement in the playoffs. So I’m not going to sit here and wonder what’s going to happen in an outcome that we don’t plan for. It would be like a fighter entering the ring thinking, ‘What if I lose?’ If he does, he will lose.”

While opening up about his decision not to sell, Moreno said his previous decision to put the team up for sale wasn’t because he fell in love with baseball.

“It was more based on circumstances than a change of heart. It was not a change of heart,” he said.

Moreno announced his decision to explore selling the team in August 2022. The team went 52-71 at the time and was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs 27 days later.

Four months earlier, The Anaheim City Council canceled the deal to sell Angel Stadium and its surrounding property to Moreno’s management company, which planned to develop the property and renovate or replace the stadium. It was a quick attempt to limit the fallout after The FBI affidavit revealed Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu was under investigation for public sector corruption, and investigators alleged that he provided confidential information about the city to Moreno’s management company in hopes that Angels executives would reciprocate with at least $1 million in donations to support his re-election campaign.

The FBI never charged Moreno and Angelo with any wrongdoing and did far from the only big company Sidhu and city representatives were accused of courtship. Sidhu resigned and the council is still dealing with the fallout.

The corruption investigation was initiated by a a deeper look at the lost decade of the Angelswith fans boo Moreno during the on-field celebrations as the club recorded its seventh straight losing season. The Angels overspent on a handful of stars who weren’t always healthy, failed to develop a farm system that is among the worst in baseball, had no plan to upgrade one of baseball’s oldest stadiums, cycled through four managers in five years and four general managers in 12 years and have been charged in two major lawsuits — one is a wrongful death lawsuit after a pitcher Tyler Skaggs overdose and the other a defamation lawsuit filed by the former clubhouse manager Bubba Harkins.

Moreno declined to say why he decided to put the team up for sale, but SI reported that sources close to Moreno indicated he was shaken by the intense negative discourse surrounding the franchise.

“I kind of learned a long time ago, you know, some things are better kept quiet,” Moreno told SI when asked why he briefly put the team on the market.

Moreno said he hasn’t been cheap when it comes to building the roster. He shared his thoughts on luxury tax rules, explained why he voted against raising the luxury tax and noted that he doesn’t hate superspenders like the Mets or Dodgers.

“I like the fact that people want to win,” he said. “But I just wish everyone had a chance. It was as if someone came to my house [for a card game] and everybody bets a thousand dollars and one guy bets a hundred, I mean, how many hands can he play? It’s just not fun.”

He said that while he didn’t always spend money on players who were successful, he still invested in trying to win.

“For the last eight to ten years, we have been in the top 10 on the payroll. I can’t tell you that we always spent money properly. But we spent the money,” he said. “So if someone criticizes me for not being committed to winning, well, I’m committed to winning.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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