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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Inflated Contracts for Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford Have Left Angels Behind

After saying in October that he would spend whatever it takes to get the Angels back into the playoffs, the best owner in sports has let his actions contradict his words. Angels fans including myself thought that Carl Crawford was coming to town, along with closer Rafael Soriano — two top players from Tampa Bay — and that the Angels were going to hand out big contracts to make it happen. Of course Boston jumped in and sealed a 7-year $142 million deal with Crawford so quickly the Angels never even made an official offer. That’s contrary to previous reports which said the Angels matched the offer for Crawford — something I never believed.

So has Arte Moreno let down Angels fans by not spending “whatever it takes” to improve the club? Or is he just running things realistically, balancing payroll with fan interests?

“Fans want a competitive team, a winning team, and I’m committed to doing that … but there comes a point where you just say, the number doesn’t fit,” Moreno said. “I have two choices. I either take a huge [financial] loss or start raising ticket prices.

“You look at the economic risk and the franchise risk. The reality is, can I write a check for the player? Yes. But is it smart business in the long term? I don’t think so.”

As badly as I want the Angels to improve and contend with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies (Phillies? Phillies.), I have to say I’m happy the Angels didn’t commit that kind of money to either of those two guys. And as much as I would have liked Cliff Lee too, paying him $25 million per season in 2014 and 2015 is a scary proposition. It’s easy for fans to talk when it’s not their money and when ticket prices are down, but it’s different when you’re signing the checks and putting the club’s future in financial jeopardy.

What’s clear is that the Angels don’t print money like the Yankees, and that they don’t have the deep pockets like the Red Sox. LAA will remain a good team with a high payroll, but with a conscientious owner running things, matters won’t get out of hand. They can contend with the best teams in baseball but need to get back to developing great players internally and making better trades than the Scott Kazmir one. If you want to know why the Angels can’t spend this winter, it’s because they have $20 million committed to Kazmir and Joel Pineiro this year.

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