Moreno family exploring sale of Angels

August 23rd, 2022

ST PETERSBURG -- Angels owner Arte Moreno is exploring the possibility of selling the team, the club announced on Tuesday.

Moreno, 76, started a formal process to examine his alternatives, including the possibility of selling the club. The Angels have retained Galatioto Sports Partners as financial advisors, and Moreno released a statement regarding the situation.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” Moreno said. “As an organization, we have worked to provide our fans an affordable and family-friendly ballpark experience while fielding competitive lineups, which included some of the game’s all-time greatest players.

“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. Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players and business partners.”

Moreno bought the club in 2003 for $184 million from The Walt Disney Company. The Angels have won six division titles since he bought the club but none since 2014. Despite having superstars such as Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, the Angels haven’t had a winning record since 2015, the longest such streak in the Majors.

Trout spoke before Tuesday’s game against the Rays and said he has a good relationship with Moreno and his wife, Carole. He was asked what he’d want in a new owner but said he just “wants to win,” and it’s too early to know how things will transpire. 

“I’m still processing everything,” Trout said. “I’ve been with the Angels my whole career, and we had some great times with Arte. He took care of me and my family. I’m appreciative of all he’s done for me, but I guess he’s moving on. Since Day 1, they took care of me and my family and trusted me. They took a risk, for sure. Anytime they sign you to a big contract, they believe in you, so I’m thankful.” 

The Angels were close to purchasing Angel Stadium and the surrounding acreage for additional development earlier this year, only for the deal to fall apart due to a corruption scandal involving the mayor of the city of Anaheim. The Angels have not been accused of any wrongdoing in the deal, which was cancelled by the city council.

The club still has a lease with Angel Stadium through 2029, with the potential to extend it through as late as '39. The club has been in Anaheim since 1966, although Moreno added Los Angeles to the club’s name in 2005.

It's unclear how long the process would take if Moreno were to sell the club. The last MLB club sold was the Mets in October 2020 to Steve Cohen for roughly $2.4 billion. The Washington Nationals are also currently for sale.

The Angels won consistently early in Moreno’s tenure, winning the AL West in 2004, ’05, ’07, ’08, ’09 and ’14, but they've struggled in recent years. The club under Moreno hasn't been afraid to sign star players to large contracts, but it has had trouble developing players, especially starting pitchers. It also had several high-priced free agents not work out, such as Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson.

The Angels also signed third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year deal worth $245 million before the 2020 season, but he has suffered season-ending injuries in each of the past two years. Rendon still has time to turn it around, but he's owed $36 million annually through the 2026 season. Trout is earning $35.45 million per year through 2030, meaning the Angels have more than $70 million invested in two players for each of the next four years. Trout, a three-time AL MVP and 10-time All-Star, also has a full no-trade clause.

Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, is set to be a free agent after next season, which complicates matters even further. Ohtani obviously affects the club’s value, and he has said the direction of the organization is something he’ll strongly consider, as he wants to play for a winning club. It’s unclear what a potential sale means for the future of Ohtani with the Angels, but Moreno reportedly was adamant about not trading him before the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline.

“I’m more focused on today’s game, but this opportunity I’ve been given, a lot of it goes through Arte,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “For the owner to entrust you with the players and his team, it means a lot to me. He’s been great to me. He’s been a great owner for his organization and still is. The six division titles in 20 years. I know people like to focus on the last few years, but he’s been really good to the community. He’s done a lot of great things for this organization. I just think about him and his family, because this is a tough day for him.”