Angels owner Arte Moreno explores selling franchise

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File
Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, right, talks with Angels manager Joe Maddon prior to a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, in Anaheim, Calif. Moreno says he is exploring the possibility of selling the franchise.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno says he is exploring the possibility of selling the franchise.

Moreno purchased the team in 2003, a year after it won its first World Series championship and was known as the Anaheim Angels. He has spent aggressively on aging free agent stars like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, but the club hasn’t been back to the Fall Classic since he became owner.

Los Angeles is set to miss the postseason for the eighth straight year despite featuring AL MVPs Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The Angels were 52-70 going into Tuesday night’s game at Tampa Bay.

Moreno, a Mexican-American born in Arizona, is the only non-white controlling owner in Major League Baseball. The Angels are the second MLB team currently for sale, joining the Washington Nationals.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” Moreno said in a statement. “Although this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved a great deal of thoughtful consideration, my family and I have ultimately come to the conclusion that now is the time.”

Moreno’s announcement comes at a critical moment for the franchise, with Ohtani set to be a free agent after the 2024 season. Ohtani, a two-way sensation who left Japan and joined the Angels in 2018, has made it clear he wants to play for a contending team. If the franchise can’t sign Ohtani to a long-term deal, it may decide to trade him before he has a chance to leave as a free agent.

Trout, a three-time MVP, is signed through the 2030 season on a $426.5 million, 12-year deal. He’s appeared in just three postseason games with the Angels, all in 2014, despite having been the best player in baseball for most of the last decade.

Anthony Rendon, a high-priced free agent signed after helping Washington win the 2019 World Series, had been injured most of his time with the Angels.

Phil Nevin, who took over as interim manager after Joe Maddon was fired in June, praised Moreno.

“He’s been great to me. I’ve known him for longer than I’ve been with the Angels, but he’s been a great owner for this organization and still is. Six division titles in the 20 years,” he said.

“He’s been really good to the community, he really has. Done a lot of great things for this organization. I know this is a tough day for him, a sad day. To be honest, I’m really focused on the game today. It doesn’t change anything we do here. Arte is a great man, and it has been a pleasure to work for him,” he said.

The team has retained Galatioto Sports Partners as financial advisor for the process and said it will not have any additional comment.