In a press release, the Angels ownership group announced that it is considering selling the team and will explore a potential sale along with Galatioto Sports Partners (who have been retained as financial advisors during the process).
“It was a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasonsOwner Arte Moreno said in the statement. “As an organization, we’ve done our best to provide our fans with an affordable and family-friendly baseball experience, while drafting competitive lineups that include some of the greatest players of all time.”
“While this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved much thoughtful consideration, my family and I have finally come to the conclusion that now is the time. Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise for the benefit of our fans, employees, players and business partners.”
While a number of factors may have played into the Moreno family’s thought process, it had been less than three months since the Anaheim City Council ruled against a long-running deal that saw Moreno’s management group buying Angel Stadium and the entire 150-acre property. around the baseball field. Moreno’s group planned to develop the area into a multi-purpose residential and commercial space, similar to other “ballpark village” developments that have become common around both newer baseball stadiums and other sports venues.
However, the tentative agreement between Moreno and the city fell apart, largely as a result of an ongoing federal investigation into alleged corruption, violations of state laws and insider information. Former Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu resigned and the city council voted to quash the Angel Stadium deal entirely in the wake of the scandal.
While the stadium controversy has raised new questions about the future of the franchise in Anaheim, it now looks like Moreno himself will walk away from the Angels altogether. Moreno originally purchased the team in April 2003 for $184 million, taking over the operations of the Walt Disney Company in the wake of the Angels’ 2002 World Series Championship season.
That 2002 title still stands as the franchise’s only championship, despite Moreno’s efforts to turn the Angels into a perpetual big-spending competitor. Under Moreno’s stewardship, the Halos were regularly a top-10 payroll team, even though Moreno’s willingness to spend didn’t lead to willingness to exceed the luxury tax threshold. (2004 was the only season the Angels ever made a luxury tax payment.)
The Angels made it to the postseason five times between 2004 and 2009, though they won only two playoff series and failed to progress past the ALCS. Regular trips to October soon ended, as an AL West title in 2014 (and a three-game sweep by the Royals in the ALDS) marked the Angels’ most recent postseason appearance. After winning 85 games in 2015, Los Angeles has had six consecutive losing seasons.
As Moreno’s statement noted: “some of the game’s all-time greatest playershave worn an Angels uniform for the past 20 seasons, including Mike Forel, Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerreroand Shohei Ohtani. Despite these and other talents, the Angels simply failed to break through due to numerous other ill-advised takeovers. Although Moreno was willing to spend money, this aggressiveness manifested itself in many large investments that simply did not materialize – that is Josh Hamilton, Justin Upton, Vernon Wells, Gary Matthews Jr., Zack Cozartand (to date) Anthony Rendon.
Pujols’ ten-year, $240 million free agent deal is likely the defining transaction of Moreno’s property, and sadly symbolic of the Angels’ final decade of struggle. While Pujols was still an elite player heading into the 2012 season, giving such a large contract to a first baseman entering his 32-year season was seen as a risk, and those fears were ultimately justified. Pujols had a few good seasons in Anaheim, but injuries and the normal aging curve made him far less productive than during his peak years with the Cardinals.
Responsibility for these purchases ultimately fell to Moreno himself, who was widely known to be far more involved in baseball operations than the average owner. The Angels have had five different general managers during Moreno’s tenure, and this revolving door reflects Moreno’s lack of patience. Also, the Angels haven’t had much of a minor league pipeline to build around these expensive acquisitions, as the Angels have routinely traded prospects and missed several draft picks.
Trout is of course the main exception, but the Angels have been unable to take advantage of a homegrown prospect developing into a legendary player. The signing of Ohtani was another big moment for the organisation, and while injuries have largely prevented Trout and Ohtani from seeing much time together in the same line-up, it still seems hard to believe that a team with two generation players cannot has been to crack even the .500, let alone compete in October. Ohtani is a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future with the Angels is sure to be a major story over the coming year, with a change of ownership now adding another intriguing wrinkle.
Major League Baseball now has two franchises known for sale as the Lerner family is also expected to sell the Nationals. It’s possible that bidders for the Nats are also considering buying the Angels, and it’s safe to assume that both franchises will sell for at least $2.5 billion. The Angels’ proximity to the greater Los Angeles area could mean a higher price tag, but it also remains to be seen whether the organization will necessarily stay in Anaheim.
Under the team’s Angel Stadium lease, the Angels are tied to their ballpark until 2029, with a club option to extend that lease through the 2038 season. While the Halos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, a new owner may have plans to replace it. take the team elsewhere. Conversely, a new owner could mean a fresh start for the future of the Angels in Anaheim, possibly a fresh start in conversations about baseball field redevelopment, and maybe even another name change. It’s probably safe to say that the old mouthful of “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” will be a thing of the past, but the club could also revert to the “Anaheim Angels” name instead of being tied to Los Angeles.