Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno announced in August 2022 that he was putting the franchise up for sale, prepared to do what was in the best interest of the fans, players and the club’s long-term future.
The decision was expected to have a significant impact on Major League Baseball. With Shohei Ohtani poised to become one of the top MLB free agents in 2024, the eventual arrival of new owners provided the Angels with an opportunity for the franchise to be turned around.
More than a half dozen groups immediately expressed interest in buying the franchise. With an ownership group from the Golden State Warriors and a Japanese-led partnership, projections had the MLB club selling for $2-plus billion.
Instead, Moreno announced in January that the franchise was no longer up for sale. He cited a desire to be a part of the “next chapter of Angels baseball” and wanting to make a positive impact on the club’s long-term future. The decision was made, in spite of the fact he reportedly received record-setting offers for the team.
- Los Angeles Angels franchise value (Forbes): $2.7 billion
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, Moreno had five prospective buyers who were willing to offer at least $2.5 billion for the franchise. Instead of taking one of the deals, Moreno opted to keep the team and took it off the market.
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The offers would’ve surpassed the record for the largest purchase price of a team in MLB history, set in 2020 when Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets for $2.4 billion. What could’ve been a fresh start for Los Angeles has since been viewed as a potential long-term setback.
- Los Angeles Angels payroll (2023): $217.121 million
Impact of Arte Moreno keeping the Los Angeles Angels
Moreno’s decision to take the team off the market three weeks before bids were due could also have long-term ramifications. There are reportedly widespread concerns about the team’s long-term future, with a belief he could pass the team down to his family, which was previously not viewed as something ever under consideration.
Suddenly shutting down the bidding process may also cost Moreno. Those who spoke with Gonzalez suggested that any future attempts to sell the franchise could encounter a more hesitant group of suitors, fearing Moreno would have another sudden change of heart.
In the short term, Moreno’s unexpected reversal had other ramifications for the franchise. If he sold the team it was believed Ohtani would consider re-signing with the Angels this winter. Now that the club will remain in the Moreno family, Ohtani is prepared to leave the Angels.
While Moreno could sell the franchise later, its value will be negatively impacted by Ohtani leaving in free agency. With Mike Trout also turning 32 in August, his continued regression could also influence what potential buyers are willing to offer.
With the Angels off the market for the foreseeable future, the Washington Nationals will be the next MLB team sold. However, a Nationals’ sale won’t happen until 2024 at the earliest.