Arte Moreno was at the Angels’ spring training facilities this morning, mainly to talk to his team that is now fully assembled in Tempe, Arizona. Spring training is in chugging along now, and with Moreno’s appearance comes the accompanying remarks to the media. When El Jefe speaks, it’s hard not to listen.
This year, he’s singing a less defensive tune than he was this time last year, which lends nicely to the overall feeling that the Halos are a franchise that went through some stormy weather, but have righted the course and are headed back to calmer waters. Jeff Fletcher wrote up a piece about what Moreno had to say, and maybe it’s just me, but he was saying all of the right things in regards to how he wants to improve the team and the ballpark.
First off, he said the Angels aren’t leaving the Big A...for awhile, at least not until 2028. At that point, the team will have more options for leaving the stadium and the city, but until then, they are staying put. Not only that, but Moreno wants to drop some money into gussying up the place:
Instead, they will keep working with the city of Anaheim on improving Angel Stadium, which is the fourth oldest park in the majors, opened in 1966. This year, he said the club spent about $1.5 million on installing new lights.
Asked what other improvements fans could expect to see, Moreno mentioned things like paint, concession stands, bathrooms
OK, so maybe this is akin to putting lipstick on a pig, or polishing a...well, you get the drift. But all cliches aside, I am totally fine with not having any city/team drama unfolding every year or so, and with the Angels committed to staying for the near future, and all of the other nightlife, shopping and entertainment features planned for the coming years, the Big A is going to be firing on all cylinders in the next decade. This is good for the fans, good for Anaheim, good for everybody.
Moreno also mentioned putting some money into the team, which is ALWAYS music to fans’ ears. Well, as long as it’s well spent, which has sort of been the problem in recent free agent signings. But while they’ve largely sat out of that rat race the past couple years, they’ve now got a nice chunk of change about to be freed up (about $68 million by next winter), the Angels are going to be splurging again:
Moreno, however, said they will have more financial flexibility going forward to supplement the roster.
“We really sort of looked hard at ’16 and ’17 and felt we’d start to open up more economic flexibility in ’17-18 plus,” Moreno said...
Asked if the Angels will be in the bidding for the “marquee” free agents next winter, Moreno said: “If our people feel it’s a player who fits, thats what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to win.”
More than that, Moreno said that if the Angels are competitive this year, then they’ll use their current flexibility (about $10 to $12 million under the luxury tax threshold) to bring in a guy who could help a playoff push. So the Halos are preparing to spend some cash, and they’re even open to dropping coin this year, if the situation fits.
Arte Moreno, with his first big salvo of the 2017 season, is saying the things that I like hearing: making the stadium better, but more importantly, making the team better, and using lots and lots of money to accomplish both. It’s not EVERYTHING that he could say to make me the most satisfied fan in the world, but it’s a start, and even better, it’s another step in the right direction for the team that many had feared lost it’s way.
Things feel good in Angels world, don’t they? The hope of spring, the return of baseball and confidence in the front office. Yep, this could be a great year for the Halos.