If you haven't seen the news yet, Arte Moreno had a sudden change of heart and is no longer interested in selling the Los Angeles Angels as he was expected to do. This is a huge gut punch to Angels fans who wanted to see change in an organization that hasn't made the postseason since 2014 and hasn't won a playoff game since 2009.
Moreno was expected to sell the team to some multi-billionaire who we hoped would be more invested in the team and build a culture to be proud of. Now that that's out the window, we have one huge question to ask.
What does the Arte Moreno decision mean in regard to impending free agent Shohei Ohtani and his future?
If Arte Moreno doesn't change his ways, the Angels should trade Shohei Ohtani before he walks for nothing.
Arte Moreno in his statement correctly stated that the Angels have committed a record-setting payroll. That's correct, but they're still not in the luxury tax and have only entered the luxury tax once since he took over the franchise in 2003. He's toed the line but only crossed it once. I get that the Angels don't play in Los Angeles, but if you want to be a Los Angeles team, why not spend like one? You see what the Dodgers do virtually every year to try and win, right?
Spending money isn't the end-all-be-all, but when you have two of the best (if not the two best) players in the game in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani and surround them with Anthony Rendon (great player when healthy) and a bunch of players on small contracts, that's not exactly building anything.
The Angels have always had the star power to compete. Moreno has been drawn to the stars like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson, and Rendon, just to name a few. With those stars being so expensive, he surrounds them with absolutely nothing and avoids the luxury tax.
Shohei Ohtani is going to get close to a $500 million dollar contract if not exceed it. Anthony Rendon is earning $38 million dollars annually for each of the next four seasons while Mike Trout is earning $35.5 million dollars annually through the 2030 campaign.
Adding on another $50 million dollars in AAV means the Angels would be spending around $120 million dollars on three players. With the first luxury tax number at $233 million dollars, the Angels would have around $100 million dollars to spend on 23 other players. There is virtually no chance they can build anything like that with their below-average farm system.
If Moreno is not willing to get serious and spend like a big market owner should, there is no justification for holding onto Ohtani. Trade him now or at the deadline if you have to wait and get a haul. Losing him for nothing is the one thing that cannot happen.
Keeping Ohtani would mean nothing if Moreno won't allow Perry Minasian or whoever the GM is in the future to build a competitive team around him and Mike Trout. It'd really stink to see Ohtani wearing another uniform, but that's where I'm at right now.
The dream was a new owner coming to town and doing what Steve Cohen has been doing with the Mets. Stop at nothing to field a competitive ball club year in and year out. This new owner would pay Ohtani while bringing in other pieces that the Angels need. Now that this dream is dead, we have to hope Moreno changes his ways or at least capitalizes on Ohtani's value.