The Los Angeles Angels are an embarrassment. On Tuesday, the club placed six players on waivers, including four that were acquired just a month ago at the trade deadline. The moves, seemingly made to get the Angels under the luxury tax as the season has collapsed around them, are the latest indignity in Arte Moreno's tenure as owner. It's never been more clear: Moreno needs to go.
The Angels' move to cut bait on Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dominic Leone, Randal Grichuk, Matt Moore, and Hunter Renfroe is a stunning admission that every decision they made at the trade deadline was not just bad, but catastrophic. The Angels didn't wave the white flag, they mortgaged their future to put hotels on Mediterranean and Baltic, then flipped the table after landing on Boardwalk the next turn.
Every disastrous Angels move can be traced back to Arte Moreno.
After announcing at this time last year that he planned to sell the team, he reversed course in March. "When you got right down to it, I didn't want to go," Moreno said. What has followed has been a textbook course in mismanaging a baseball team.
The Angels entered the season in a position that fans have become all too familiar with: hoping that two of the brightest stars in the game, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, could carry a mediocre roster to the postseason. For a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2014, this is the definition of insanity.
The season has played out like a bad romantic comedy. Ohtani, the apple of every other team's eye, has transcended even the most absurd expectations placed upon him, and Moreno, the guy who has taken him for granted his entire career, finally realized what he had, and maybe he should, you know, put in a little effort to keep him.
Too little too late, as the Angels, who were already without Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Brandon Drury, and Logan O'Hoppe due to injury, immediately nosedived after the deadline, losing seven consecutive games to drop out of the race.
In a cruel twist, Ohtani tore his UCL last week, ending his season on the mound and potentially costing himself over $100 million in free agency. Not content with already having burned the house down, the Angels took a wrecking ball to any slim chance they had to retain Ohtani's services beyond this year. General manager Perry Minasian revealed after Ohtani's injury that the superstar had declined an MRI earlier in the year, which is the equivalent of reading someone's diary to their friends to prevent them from breaking up with you.
Minasian's desperate attempt to save face had to have come from Moreno, and if not, it shows a lack of control and professionalism in his organization. At this point, Ohtani staying with the Angels would be more shocking than Buster Douglas' upset of Mike Tyson.
Trading Ohtani, who always seemed unlikely to re-up with the Angels, was the only way to ensure the future of the franchise. Instead, the Angels traded away quality prospects for Giolito, Lopez, Leone, Grichuk, and C.J. Cron, weakening the farm system for players that lasted just a month in Anaheim.
Now those players are gone, while the Mariners, Astros, and Rangers battle it out 12.5 games ahead of the Angels for the A.L. West crown.
Angels fans are now hoping that Ohtani's injury opens the door to him staying at a more reasonable price. Why would he want to remain with an organization that threw him under the bus the minute he got injured? Why would he spend his career playing for an owner that failed to surround him with even passable talent?
Moreno bought the Angels in 2003, the year after they won their first World Series. Like a baseball version of Barry Switzer succeeding Jimmy Johnson, Moreno enjoyed five division championships in his first seven years, but in the years since, the Angels have only made the playoffs once.
The Angels' downfall can be directly tied to Moreno's poor decisions. The catastrophic contracts given to Albert Pujols and Anthony Rendon are at or near the top of the list of worst free agent signings in baseball history. This year's complete mismanagement of the trade deadline is the final nail in the coffin.
Moreno purchased the team for $184 million 20 years ago. In March of this year, Forbes valued the team at $2.7 billion. For a businessman so desperate to pinch pennies to get under the luxury tax, selling the team is a no-brainer.
Angels fans have had the privilege of cheering for two of the best players of this generation, but team success has remained elusive. It may take years to recover from Moreno's stewardship, but at least fans can have hope that the next owner will move the team in the right direction. Shohei Ohtani is likely leaving this offseason, and the only way to lessen that sting, even if just barely, is for Moreno to go, too. Sell the team and let Angels fans start fresh.