Anaheim, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, a Tucson native and University of Arizona graduate, has decided not to sell the team.
Moreno pulled its franchise from the market on Monday after announcing its plan to explore selling the team last August. The 76-year-old owner met potential buyers over the winter.
“Throughout this process it has become clear that we have unfinished business and we feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience,” Moreno said in a statement. “This season, we’ve committed to a player paybook franchise, and we still want to deliver on our goal of giving back the World Series to our fans.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “thrilled” Moreno was still in the game.
“Despite Jupiter’s strong interest in angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is most important to him,” said Manfred.
Moreno is an outdoor advertising mogul from Arizona who originally bought the Angels from The Walt Disney Company in 2003, shortly after the franchise won its only championship.
Moreno immediately showed a willingness to spend money attracting big-name agents to Orange County, and the Angels won five AL West titles during his first seven seasons of ownership. But Moreno also angered many of his team’s fans early in his tenure by dropping Anaheim from the franchise name in an effort to improve the franchise’s marketability and television visibility.
The Angels’ fortunes under Moreno have been signaling strongly since their appearance in the ALCS in 2009. Despite hefty salaries and big-market fan support, the Halos haven’t won a playoff appearance in the last 13 years, making just one postseason appearance in 2014 and being swept.
The Angels are currently mired in the longest losing streaks in major seasons (seven) and non-playoff seasons (eight, tied with Detroit) despite having former AL MVPs Mike Trott and Shuhei Ohtani on their roster.
While Moreno’s desire to write big checks never waned, his insistence on involving himself in some of the Angels’ biggest deals drew harsh criticism and rarely yielded good results. Moreno made the ultimate decision to hand out massive contracts to several players including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Anthony Rendon in recent years, and nearly every one of his big money free gambles didn’t pay off as well as he had hoped.
The Angels’ recent indignity wasn’t entirely Moreno’s fault: He reached an agreement with the city government of Anaheim to purchase Angel Stadium in October 2020 with plans to redevelop the fourth-oldest football stadium and the land around it, only for the deal to go through in 2022 amid a political scandal surrounding the deal that led to Anaheim Mayor Harry Seydow Resigns.
Moreno said he had met “a number of highly qualified individuals and groups who have shown great interest in the club” while exploring the sale.
Moreno added, “As the discussions progressed and began to take shape, we realized that our hearts remain with the angels, and we are not ready to separate from the fans, the players and our staff.”