Angels owner Arte Moreno takes franchise off market, won't sell team as Shohei Ohtani talks loom

Arte Moreno, shown here with his wife, Carole, has apparently changed his mind about selling the Angels. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Arte Moreno, shown here with his wife, Carole, has apparently changed his mind about selling the Angels. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Five months after owner Arte Moreno declared "now is the time," the Los Angeles Angels announced Monday that the franchise is, in fact, not for sale.

The Angels released a statement on behalf of the Moreno family announcing the decision:

"During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience," the statement reads. " ... As discussions advanced and began to crystalize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players and employees."

The change of heart comes after an Aug. 23 declaration from Moreno announcing that he was exploring selling the franchise.

"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," Moreno said, per the August statement. "Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players, and business partners."

Moreno, 76, bought the Angels from the Walt Disney Company in 2003 for $183.5 million. Had Moreno sold, the Angels were expected to fetch at least $2.5 billion on the open market, according to the Los Angeles Times. Details on why a deal failed to materialize, beyond the Angels' statement, were initially unclear.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the decision in a statement.

“Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is most important to him,” Manfred's statement read. “I am very pleased that the Moreno Family has decided to continue owning the team.”

The Angels won the franchise's only World Series championship over the San Francisco Giants in 2002, the year before Moreno bought the team. In the 20 seasons since, the Angels have made the postseason six times without a return trip to the World Series. Last season marked their eighth straight without a playoff appearance. They haven't posted a winning record since 2015.

The Angels' struggles have coincided with the tenure of perennial All-Star Mike Trout. The franchise has failed to build a winner around the three-time MVP, who has played his entire 12-season career with the Angels. They've likewise failed to advance to the playoffs even with the addition of another generational talent in Shohei Ohtani, who has made two All-Star teams in addition to securing AL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors during his five-year stint in Anaheim.

While Trout has eight years remaining on his 12-season, $426.5 million contract, Ohtani's long-term future is unclear. He'll play the 2023 season on a one-year, $30 million deal. Any long-term negotiations will now take place under Moreno's watch.

Moreno's decision arrives amid uncertainty over the franchise's future home. Moreno was in talks with the city of Anaheim to purchase Angel Stadium for $320 million, but the sale fell through last spring amid a corruption scandal that prompted then-mayor Harry Sidhu to resign. The Angels instead continue to lease the stadium in a deal that expires in 2029.