Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has had a change of heart, announcing Monday afternoon that his MLB franchise is no longer for sale.
It’s a shocking move as many believed a deal was coming soon. But in a statement posted on the Angels’ team Twitter page, Moreno explained that selling the franchise now doesn’t feel right.
“During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can have a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience,” the statement read.
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“We are grateful to Galatioto Sports Partners for their outstanding efforts throughout the process that enabled us to meet with a number of highly qualified individuals and groups who expressed great interest in the Club. However, as discussions progressed and began to crystallize, We’ve realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we’re not ready to part ways with the fans, the players and our employees.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also issued a statement following Moreno’s announcement.
“Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is the most important thing to him. I am very pleased that the Moreno family has decided to continue to own the team,” the statement read. via ESPN.
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Moreno hired Galatioto Sports Partners to assist in the potential sale, and while exploratory at first, it appeared the 76-year-old was ready to leave the team after saying “now is the time” in a statement. announcing the hiring of the financial adviser.
During the MLB Winter Meetings, Manfred also said that interested buyers were looking into the team’s finances, indicating that the process was progressing very well.
“The club would like to have the sale resolved before Opening Day,” Manfred said.
Sources told ESPN that potential buyers were taking tours of Angel Stadium, but no formal offers, if any, were made public.
Moreno was predicted to have sold the franchise for $2.5 billion, with Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong among those interested.
All of that doesn’t matter now, as Moreno is committed to bringing Angels baseball back to the forefront of the game.
When he bought the team in 2003 from The Walt Disney Company for $183.5 million, the Halos had just won the World Series in 2002 after defeating the San Francisco Giants in seven games. Moreno was also the first Hispanic owner of a major sports team in the United States.
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The Angels did well during manager Mike Scioscia’s reign from 2004 to 2009, with Los Angeles capturing five division titles in that span. Moreno was also well-liked by fans, especially for showing the need for top talent like Vladimir Guerrero and, of course, lowering beer prices, among other fan experiences.
However, in recent years, Moreno has come under fire for the way the Angels have been built. Despite having arguably the two best players in the game, center fielder Mike Trout and superstar hitter-pitcher Shohei Ohtani, the Angels haven’t had a winning record since the 2015 season when they went 85-77.
They also haven’t made the playoffs since the 2014 season, when they were swept in the American League Division Series by the Kansas City Royals.
There’s also the death of Tyler Skaggs in 2019, which has been a black cloud over the organization for years. Eric Kay, a longtime PR employee for the franchise, was sentenced to 22 years in prison as a result of Skaggs’ death, and a wrongful-death lawsuit is still pending.
Moreno, however, continues to show his commitment to wanting a better product on the field for Angels fans. This offseason, he and general manager Perry Minasian bolstered their rotation by signing Tyler Anderson to a three-year, $39 million deal. Minasian also traded Gio Urshela to add infield help, as well as Hunter Renfroe to give the lineup more power at the plate.
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The Angels are also banking on a comeback year for Anthony Rendon along with the constant threat of Trout and Ohtani when they sign up.
Los Angeles finished 33 games behind the World Series champion Astros in the AL West, finishing the 2022 season with a 73-89 record. Along with the Astros, the Seattle Mariners also reached the postseason with a 90-72 record. And while the Oakland A’s are in total rebuild mode, the Texas Rangers continued to spend money this offseason, especially for starter Jacob deGrom, as they look to recapture postseason glory.
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So Moreno has a lot of work ahead of him this season and beyond if he wants his team to return to where it all began for him two decades ago.