TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels owner Arte Moreno confirmed Monday that he was the one who ordered his club to pull out of a potential deal with the Dodgers that would’ve brought right-hander Ross Stripling and outfielder Joc Pederson to the Angels.
The deal, which would’ve sent infielder Luis Rengifo to the Dodgers and included at least two Minor League players, never became official. The Dodgers were engaged in a potential three-way trade with the Red Sox and Twins at the time, only to alter it and make separate trades with both clubs that ultimately netted them Mookie Betts, David Price and prospect Brusdar Graterol. Moreno, though, didn’t want to get into details into why he grew impatient.
“We really didn't have a deal, it was leaked that we had a deal,” Moreno said. “I won't get into it. I just would rather not talk about that because it wasn’t going to happen and didn’t happen.”
Moreno added that he’s still open to making a trade for starting pitching but that it would be for a front-line starter. It seems much more likely that a deal would come at the July 31 Trade Deadline than before the season, but Moreno said the Angels have both the money and the prospects to make a trade for a top starter. The issue is that there aren’t any currently on the trading block, but that should change during the season.
“We have the financial flexibility for a starting pitcher,” Moreno said. “We're looking for a pitcher that can substantially help us. And not a four or a five.”
Rengifo, meanwhile, participated in the first day of full-squad workouts on Monday and said he has no hard feelings over nearly being traded to the Dodgers. Rengifo is competing for a spot on the roster, but he might be better served playing every day at Triple-A Salt Lake since Tommy La Stella and David Fletcher are set to split time at second base in Anaheim.
“It was a little confusing not knowing where I was going to go, but I am here now and I’m really excited to get the season started,” Rengifo said through an interpreter. “The only thing I can focus on right now is going out every day and focusing on doing my job. I can’t control anything else. I just have to give it my all every day.”
Angel Stadium deal going to plan
Moreno gave an update on the Angels’ stadium situation, as the club agreed to buy both Angel Stadium and the stadium parking lot from the city of Anaheim for $325 million in early December. The Angels are still working out the details on how they want to develop the property and haven’t decided whether they would renovate the existing ballpark or build a new one on the same lot.
Moreno said he expects renovations to Angel Stadium in the short-term either way, and then the club will determine the best course of action going forward. The Angels are looking into creative ways to build a ballpark village of sorts, which could include restaurants and a hotel. The club is creating a development agreement that it will present to the city council in four months.
“I think it's a good opportunity for the city as well as the Angels,” Moreno said. “My No. 1 goal -- as I told my people on Day 1 -- is that we do whatever we can to enhance the product on the field to win a championship. That's our No. 1 goal, period. Second would be to make sure that the stadium was taken care of. And that's one thing we always work on is safety, cleanliness, maintenance -- those kind of things. And then if there are any opportunities that we see to enhance the experience, we're always working on that.”
Eppler has yet to be extended
The Angels have not granted an extension to general manager Billy Eppler, who is in the final year of his contract. Moreno said he wants to see how the team fares this season before he makes a decision.
“It's just not one thing,” Moreno said. “We, just as a group, we need to win. If not, I probably should fire myself.”
Simmons extension being discussed internally
The Angels have had internal discussions about a potential extension for shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Moreno said. But the Angels have yet to meet with Simmons’ representatives about a potential deal. Simmons is in the final season of a seven-year, $58 million deal he signed with the Braves before the 2014 season.