Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has had a change of heart, announcing Monday afternoon that his MLB franchise is no longer up for sale.
It’s a shocking move as many believed that a deal would be coming soon. But in a statement published on the Angels’ team Twitter page, Moreno explained how selling the franchise now just doesn’t feel right.
“During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience,” the statement read.
“We are grateful to Galatioto Sports Partners for their outstanding efforts throughout the process that allowed us to meet with a number of highly qualified individuals and groups who expressed strong interest in the Club. However, as discussions advanced and began to crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players and our employees.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement following Moreno’s announcement.
“Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is most important to him. I am very pleased that the Moreno family has decided to continue owning the team,” the statement read via ESPN.
Galatioto Sports Partners were hired by Moreno to aid in the potential sale, and though it was exploratory at first, it appeared that the 76-year-old was ready to move on from the team after saying “now is the time” in a statement announcing the financial adviser hire.
During the MLB Winter Meetings, Manfred also said that interested buyers were looking into the team’s financials, which indicated the process was moving along nicely.
“The club would like to have the sale resolved before Opening Day,” Manfred said.
Sources told ESPN that prospective buyers were getting tours of Angel Stadium, but no formal bids were made public, if any.
It was predicted that Moreno could have sold the franchise for $2.5 billion, with Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and L.A. 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 purchased 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.
The Angels did well during the reign of manager Mike Scioscia from 2004 to 2009, with Los Angeles capturing five division titles in that span. Moreno was also well-liked by the fans, especially for showing the want for top talent like Vladimir Guerrero and, of course, lowering beer prices, among other fan experiences.
However, in recent years, Moreno has caught some heat for the way the Angels have been built. Despite having arguably the top two 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 haven’t made the playoffs since the 2014 season either, when they were swept in the American League Division Series by the Kansas City Royals.
There is also the death of Tyler Skaggs in 2019, which has been a black cloud over the organization for years. Eric Kay, a longtime public relations employee with the franchise, was sentenced to 22 years in prison as a result of Skaggs’ death, and a wrongful death lawsuit is still pending.
Moreno, though, continues to show his commitment to wanting a better product on the field for Angels fans. This offseason, he and GM Perry Minasian bolstered their rotation by signing Tyler Anderson to a three-year, $39 million deal. Minasian also traded for Gio Urshela to add infield help as well as Hunter Renfroe to give the lineup more power at the plate.
The Angels are also banking on a comeback year for Anthony Rendon along with Trout and Ohtani’s consistent threat when penciled in.
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 made the postseason with a 90-72 record. And though the Oakland Athletics are in full rebuild mode, the Texas Rangers continued to spend money this offseason, most notably for starter Jacob deGrom, as they look to recapture postseason glory.
So Moreno has his work cut out for him this season and beyond if he wishes to get his team back to where it all began for him two decades ago.