LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno announced on Monday his family has ended the exploratory process for a potential sale, and he will remain the teams owner for 2023 and beyond.
Five months ago, it looked like the Angels were going to be sold to the highest bidder because owner Moreno started the exploratory process to see if somebody would like to purchase the team. Moreno, who is the first and only Hispanic baseball owner, bought the team in 2003 from the Walt Disney Company for $183.5M which was the year after the team’s only World Series title.
At first, it seemed like a good fit, the Angels won five division titles from 2004-2009 and they made it to the ALCS in 2009 ultimately losing to the eventual champion New York Yankees in six games.
Since then, the Angels have had lots of ups and downs, including the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs and other controversies including the mistreatment of their minor league players.
Another stain against the team is that they employ two of the best players in the game, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but haven’t made the playoffs since 2014 when they were swept by the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS.
So when 76-year-old Moreno released a statement on Monday afternoon, telling Angels fans he has decided against selling the team, people were shocked. In the 132-word missive, Moreno mentioned “unfinished business” as a reason why he had a change of heart. He also said, “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."
This news not only shocked people around Major League Baseball but Angels fans who were preparing and in most cases, hoping for new ownership.
Locked On Angels co-hosts Jon and Mike Frisch, lifelong fans of the team, discussed the about-face by the Moreno family on the latest episode of the show.
Jon joked, “I’m never going to trust anyone who uses the phrase exploratory process again.”
Jon also added that it seems Arte Moreno didn’t get the offer he wanted because it was estimated that the team could be sold for anywhere from $2.5 billion to $3 billion, so he pulled back and decided to keep the team. But it has been reported that the potential sale did move into the late stages but Moreno “found it difficult” to part with the team he’s owned for two decades.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement saying, “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 co-hosts of Locked On Angels had a strong reaction to that statement as well, joking, “Good, so Rob Manfred, the number one enemy of baseball is on Arte Moreno’s side.”
Moreno’s biggest task is coming after the 2023 season ends: Shohei Ohtani is a free agent and if the Angels want to have any chance of making the playoffs and ultimately winning another title, they have to retain Ohtani. That alone will be a big step toward Moreno’s goal of bringing a World Series title back to Anaheim but many Angels fans are left to wonder why things will be different now after sitting through the past 20 years of Moreno’s ownership.