The Los Angeles Angels held a press conference on Tuesday after deciding to let Phil Nevin go the day before. Nevin was out after 1.5 seasons as the Angels manager after an incredibly disappointing 2023 season.
In this press conference, Perry Minasian discussed many things including why the decision to let Nevin go was made, when the new manager would be hired, and the future of Shohei Ohtani with the Angels. Not much was revealed in those areas outside of the Angels feeling like they underachieved and they want Ohtani back.
The important thing to take away from the presser was that the Angels have a plan for 2024. That plan involves them attempting to put a winning team on the field. While that's unsurprising to hear, the chances of this plan actually working are slim. And it all goes back to Arte Moreno.
Arte Moreno is meddling more than ever with Phil Nevin decision and 2024 plans
There are many reasons why Arte Moreno is such a horrific owner, but one big one is the fact that he feels the need to meddle in every baseball decision this franchise makes. Despite having no background in baseball and no qualifications that'd make him worthy of making baseball decisions, Moreno is just as much of a GM as Perry Minasian. That's just the reality.
Moreno is the one who makes the Angels go for it year in and year out despite not having the talent to actually get anywhere. He's the one who makes the Angels go for it despite not letting the GM's go over the tax most of the time and not putting any of his finances in player development.
It felt like Moreno was finally improving in this aspect after letting Perry Minasian pass on Trea Turner and focus on adding much-needed depth, but he's right back at it this offseason.
The decision to let Phil Nevin go was a collaborative one between Minasian and Arte Moreno. The decision of who to hire next in terms of the manager and coaches will also presumably be a collaborative decision between Minasian and Moreno. While it'd be preferred to simply let Minasian do his job, I can understand why Moreno would have to sign off on the new manager.
Minasian also said ownership is committed to fielding a winning team in 2024. Winning teams are great. The Angels haven't had a winning season since 2015 and haven't made the playoffs since 2014. Fans would love a winning season. The question is how will they achieve the goal of fielding a winning team in 2024 when it's unclear whether Arte Moreno is even willing to spend the money necessary to get them there.
The Angels, to their credit, dipped into the luxury tax at the trade deadline to try and field a winner. The plan obviously failed spectacularly, but they did put in the effort. This offseason it's unclear as of now according to Minasian whether Moreno would consider going back to those heights. That's a problem.
If the Angels lose Shohei Ohtani, the only way they can possibly field a winning team in 2024 is if they sign a slew of expensive free agents which would certainly put them well over the tax. If the Angels retain Shohei Ohtani, that'd mean adding so much to their already expensive payroll to the point where, again, they'd have to go into the tax.
Moreno's wishes of building a winner that stays below where he wants to go financially only works if the Angels ever build up a strong minor league system which takes money being put into development, the right coaches, and years of patience.
In an ideal world, the Angels look into rebuilding and trying to build something sustainable. With Moreno in charge, that has never and presumably will never happen. He will try and sign as much talent as possible while remaining under the tax and another fourth place finish is likely on the way. The worst part is that Perry Minasian will take the fall for Moreno's plan failing and we'll just keep repeating this cycle until Moreno finally sells.