Angels owner Arte Moreno has begun exploring the possibility of selling the team

brown artwhose 20-year ownership of Angels began with the most successful decade in franchise history but is now mired in a terrible eight-year run in which the team failed to qualify for the playoffs, it was announced Tuesday that he had begun to explore the process of selling the franchise.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” Moreno, the first Mexican-American to own a major sports team in the United States, said in a statement. “As an organization, we have strived to provide our fans with an affordable, family-friendly ballpark experience while featuring competitive rosters that included some of the greatest players of all time.

“Although this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved a lot of thought, my family and I have finally come to the conclusion that the time is right. Throughout this process, we will continue to manage the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players and business partners.

Moreno has no potential buyer lined up, with one person familiar with his thinking but not authorized to speak about it publicly, likening Tuesday’s announcement to the owner putting a “for sale sign on the lawn.”

Moreno began considering the possibility of selling the team in recent months, the person said. Moreno has no succession plan. He has three adult children, but none have been involved in running the team or interested in taking over.

In March, Forbes valued the team at $2.2 billion, but that number could climb as the Angels are one of four teams in Major League Baseball’s two biggest markets — the other three are the Dodgers, New York Mets and New York Yankees.

Moreno bought the Walt Disney Co. team for $183.5 million shortly after the Angels won their only World Series Championship in 2002 and was praised for lowering beer prices at Angel Stadium and for his large investments in free agents that brought in 2004 American League Most Valuable Player Vladimir Guerrero, Cy Young Award winner 2005 Bartolo Colon and pitcher Kelvim Escobar in Anaheim.

Those players — along with several remnants of the 2002 team and newcomers such as pitcher Jered Weaver and shortstop Erick Aybar — helped fuel a hugely successful run in which the Angels won five league titles. ‘AL West and reached the American League Championship Series twice from 2004 to 2009. .

But a 7-6 win over the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the 2009 ALCS in Anaheim would be the Angels’ last playoff win. The Angels have only made the playoffs once since, in 2014, when they were swept in a three-game series by the Kansas City Royals.

They are on course for their seventh straight losing season and eighth without a playoff spot.

It’s not for lack of spending. The Angels have been among the top 10 spending teams in baseball every year Moreno has owned them, but they haven’t spent their money very wisely.

Angels owner Arte Moreno, left, introduces Albert Pujols during a news conference December 10, 2011 at Angel Stadium.

Angels owner Arte Moreno, left, introduces Albert Pujols during a news conference December 10, 2011 at Angel Stadium.

(Alex Gallardo/Associated Press)

Moreno was the driving force behind the 10-year, $240 million deal for Albert Pujols before 2012, the five-year, $125 million deal for Josh Hamilton before 2013, and the $245 million deal over seven years for Anthony Rendon before 2020, and no one could help secure a playoff victory.

Pujols, 32 when he signed with the Angels, was hampered by lower-body injuries and age and was a shadow of the slugger who netted Hall of Fame numbers in St. Louis for 11 year. He was released in May 2021.

Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP with the Texas Rangers, had a history of substance abuse issues and suffered a relapse in the spring of 2015. He was traded to the Rangers in April, with the Angels eating $61 million off his contract.

Rendon has played just 103 games over the past two years, suffering a season-ending hip injury in July 2021 and a season-ending wrist injury in June.

The Angels have also employed two of baseball’s best players over the past five years, three-time AL MVP Mike Trout and two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, and they haven’t even had a winning season with the pair. .

Moreno’s refusal to cross the luxury tax threshold prevented the Angels from competing for several free agents who could have made a difference for them, including pitcher Gerrit Cole, third baseman Adrián Beltré and first baseman goal Mark Teixeira.

Moreno asked then-general manager Billy Eppler to fire manager Brad Ausmus after the 2019 season so he could hire longtime favorite Joe Maddon, who had spent more than three decades with the organization before. to move on to manage the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs. .

Moreno then fired Eppler after the 2020 season – just months after granting Eppler an extension until the 2021 season – and hired Perry Minasian as the team’s general manager.

Moreno approved of Minasian’s decision to fire Maddon in early June, with the team nearing the end of a possible 14-game losing streak, and Maddon has not spoken to the owner since his dismissal. Over the past five years, the Angels have gone through four different managers. Phil Nevin, their former third base coach, took over managerial duties after Maddon was fired.

Joe Maddon speaks to reporters as Arte Moreno listens

Former Angels manager Joe Maddon, left, has not spoken to owner Arte Moreno since he was fired by the team in June.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

“This opportunity given to me is largely through Arte,” the interim manager told reporters in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Angels are in the middle of a four-game series with the Rays. “That the owner entrusts the players and his team to you means a lot to me. He was great with me. He was a great owner for his organization and still is. The six division titles in 20 years. I know people like to focus on the past few years, but he’s been really good for the community. He has done many great things for this organization. I’m just thinking of him and his family, because it’s a tough day for him.

Trout told reporters he was still processing the news of the potential sale, appreciated that the Moreno family took care of him, and “wants to win.” He also said it was too early to list details of what he would expect from a new owner.

“I’ve been with the Angels my whole career and we’ve had some great times with Arte,” Trout said. “He took care of me and my family. I appreciate everything he did for me, but I guess he’s moving on. From day one they took care of me and my family and trusted me. They took a risk, that’s for sure. Every time they sign you for a big contract, they believe in you, so I’m grateful to them.

A former Angels star shared his thoughts on Twitter.

“Well, that’s good news,” said Hall of Famer Rod Carew, the former first baseman who was sidelined from the team for several years. “I renewed hope that my relationship with the Angels organization can be fully restored.”

Moreno, 76, is the oldest of 11 children of Maria and Arturo Moreno, who immigrated from Mexico. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona, graduated from high school in 1966, was drafted into the US Army, and fought in the Vietnam War.

After returning from the war, Moreno attended the University of Arizona, where he earned a degree in marketing in 1973. He took a job in the advertising industry and was hired by an advertising company. Phoenix-based display called Outdoor Systems in 1984.

Moreno eventually became the company’s president and CEO, and the company’s stock skyrocketed after it went public in 1996. Moreno sold Outdoor Systems to Infinity Broadcasting for $8 billion in 1998.

A love of baseball prompted Moreno to join 17 other investors in a 1986 purchase of minor league Salt Lake Trappers in 1986. The group owned the team until 1992.

Moreno failed in his 2001 bid to acquire a majority stake in the Arizona Diamondbacks, but two years later his purchase of the Angels was approved by Major League Baseball.

In 2005, Moreno announced that the team would be called the Los Angeles Angels, to better emphasize to potential advertisers and sponsors that the team played in the second largest media market in the United States.

There are nearly 20 million people in the Los Angeles media market; the city of Anaheim has a population of 350,000.

The city sued, citing a stadium lease clause that required the team’s name to “include the name of Anaheim.” Moreno said the team’s full name would be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

An Orange County Superior Court jury ruled in its favor, but the awkward naming of two towns caused anger in Orange County and ridicule elsewhere. Ultimately, a judge ruled that Moreno could use the “Los Angeles Angels” name for marketing purposes, and the “Anaheim suffix” eventually disappeared.

But, aside from the throwback and City Connect uniforms, the team wore “angels” on their jerseys, not “Los Angeles.” The Angels’ charitable foundation focused on efforts in Orange County.

The Angels said in a statement that the organization has engaged Galatioto Sports Partners as financial advisors for the process.

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