Arte Moreno takes Angels off market, will continue as owner

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Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has decided not to sell the team.

Moreno took his franchise off the market after announcing his plan to explore a sale of the team last August. The 76-year-old owner met with prospective buyers during the winter.

“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,” Moreno said in a statement. “This offseason, we committed to a franchise record player payroll, and still want to accomplish our goal of bringing a World Series championship back to our fans.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is “very pleased” Moreno is staying in the game.

“Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is most important to him,” Manfred said.

Moreno is an outdoor advertising mogul from Arizona who originally bought the Angels from the Walt Disney Company in 2003, shortly after the franchise won its only championship.

Moreno immediately showed a willingness to spend money to attract big-name free agents to Orange County, and the Angels won five AL West titles during his first seven seasons of ownership. But Moreno also angered many of his team’s fans early in his tenure by dropping Anaheim from the franchise’s name in a bid to improve the franchise’s marketability and television visibility.

The Angels’ fortunes under Moreno have flagged mightily since an appearance in the ALCS in 2009. Despite a hefty payroll and big-market fan support, the Halos have not won a playoff games in the past 13 years, making just one postseason appearance in 2014 and getting swept.

The Angels are currently mired in the majors’ longest streaks of losing seasons (seven) and non-playoff seasons (eight, tied with Detroit) despite the presence of former AL MVPs Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani on their roster.

While Moreno’s willingness to write big checks has never waned, his insistence on involving himself in some of the Angels’ biggest deals has drawn heavy criticism and rarely yielded good results. Moreno made the final decision to hand out massive contracts to several players including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Anthony Rendon in recent years, and nearly every one of his big-money free agent gambles hasn’t paid off richly as as he hoped.

The Angels’ most recent indignity wasn’t entirely Moreno’s fault: He reached a deal with the Anaheim city government to purchase Angel Stadium in October 2020 with plans to redevelop the majors’ fourth-oldest ballpark and the land surrounding it, only for the transaction to fall apart in 2022 amid a political scandal surrounding the sale that led to the resignation of Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu.

Moreno said he met “with a number of highly qualified individuals and groups who expressed strong interest in the club” while exploring a sale.

“However, as discussions advanced and began to crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players, and our employees,” Moreno added.

Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin agree to 2-year, $6.65M contract

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — All-Star pitcher Tony Gonsolin and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed on a two-year, $6.65 million contract that avoided an arbitration hearing.

Gonsolin gets $3.25 million this year and $3.4 million in 2024.

His salary in the second season can escalate by up to $3 million based on a points system in which he will be credited one point for each start, or each relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings: $500,000 apiece for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. The 2024 salary also would increase by $1,125,000 for winning a Cy Young Award this year, $625,000 for finishing second or third in the voting and $500,000 for finishing fourth or fifth.

The sides exchanged salary proposals on Jan. 13, with Gonsolin seeking a raise from $720,000 last season to $3.4 million this year, while the Dodgers offered $3 million.

The 28-year-old right-hander was 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 24 starts during a breakout season last year. Gonsolin earned his first All-Star selection with an 11-0 record and a 2.02 ERA in the first half. He finished with the highest winning percentage (.941) in franchise history.

Gonsolin has been with the Dodgers for parts of four seasons since being drafted in the ninth round out of Saint Mary’s College in 2016. He is 26-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 59 career games.

He helped the Dodgers win the 2020 World Series during the pandemic-shortened season.