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Angels owner might sell the team after long run of middling results

Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno is looking into selling the team. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno announced Tuesday that he is exploring selling the team, hiring an investment bank to assist him in the process.

“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” Moreno said in a statement. “As an Organization, we have worked to provide our fans an affordable and family-friendly ballpark experience while fielding competitive lineups which included some of the game’s all-time greatest players.

“Although this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved a great deal of thoughtful consideration, my family and I have ultimately come to the conclusion that now is the time. Throughout the process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players, and business partners.”

Moreno, who earned his fortune in billboard advertising, purchased the Angels for $180 million from the Walt Disney Co. in 2003, becoming the first Mexican American owner in major U.S. professional sports. The franchise was coming off its lone World Series title in 2002, and though the Angels made five playoff appearances in Moreno’s first seven seasons as owner, they have yet to return to the Fall Classic, have not made the MLB postseason since 2015 and have not won a playoff game since 2009.

Still, Forbes estimates that the Angels are worth $2.2 billion, the ninth-highest valuation in baseball.

Moreno has not hesitated to sign big-name players such as Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Vernon Wells, but those high-priced signings have come at the expense of the franchise’s overall infrastructure, with the team’s scouting, analytics and player development systems seen as lacking. The current Angels feature two of the game’s biggest and highest-paid stars in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, but the former’s career is in jeopardy because of a rare back disorder while the latter will be a free agent after the 2023 season. Moreno’s decision not to trade Ohtani this season so that the franchise could start a rebuilding project was seen as a mistake.

Trey Mancini will always be proud of the Orioles. Even as an Astro.

In 2019, the Angels signed infielder Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract, but he has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons, and his sizable contract is seen as another impediment to progress for the Angels.

“The infrastructure needs to be improved. There’s a lot of things that need to be improved there,” Joe Maddon, who was fired as Angels manager on June 7, told the Tampa Bay Times in a story published Sunday. “These guys can’t do it alone, obviously. It’s the non-sexy stuff that has to get better. It’s not just bright, shiny objects — they have that.

“They need to do the infrastructure better in order to get to where we had been in the past. That was my goal, to get the Angels back to where we had been in the past. That was it. Nothing but pure intentions. I was an Angel. They had every ounce of me. And now that’s done.”

In May, the Anaheim City Council voted to cancel the sale of Angel Stadium to a Moreno-affiliated management company, which had plans to redevelop the area around the stadium. The deal to sell the stadium to Moreno’s company led to the resignation in May of Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu after it was revealed that he was the subject of a federal criminal investigation over his dealings with the Angels.

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