The Bisheff Blog
Analyzing and commenting on what's hot in sports

OK, Explain This One, Arte

So Arte Moreno will do whatever it takes to win, huh? Yeah, right.

As long as “whatever” doesn’t mean putting up the necessary cash.

The Angels’ owner has been exposed, once and for all, as someone who isn’t ready to compete with baseball’s heavyweights. The Boston Red Sox proved it late Wednesday when they stole the one guy Manager Mike Scioscia wanted more than anyone else — Carl Crawford.

For months, the Angels and Moreno had singled out Tampa’s exciting outfielder as the free agent who was No. 1 on their list. He was the prototype Scioscia player, an All-Star with speed, a good bat and a great glove. He was the guy who supposedly would get Anaheim back to playing Angels’ style baseball.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way, because Moreno wouldn’t pay the going rate and Boston would. The Red Sox signed Crawford to a 7-year, $142 million contract. It is being reported that Moreno’s offer was for 6 years and $108 million, a total that could never hold up once Werth signed his deal.

Yes, $108 million is a lot of money. But it isn’t nearly enough if you want to play with the big boys.

And apparently, when all is said and spent, Moreno doesn’t have the stomach or the wallet to do that. He demonstrated that two years ago with Mark Teixeira and now he has done it again.

This time, though, it is more than just a swing and a miss on the guy they really wanted. This is a total embarrassment because of the way it all came down. This one has made them all look bad, from Moreno to GM Tony Reagins, who supposedly was “running the show” in Florida, to Scioscia and the entire organization.

Crawford was a good friend of Angels’ star Torii Hunter, who has been madly recruiting the All-Star outfielder for months. In the end, though, friendship doesn’t mean much compared to an extra $35 million, or so.

This is a huge hit not only to the Angels’ otherwise limp lineup, but to their chances if they somehow beat out Texas and make it to the postseason in the future. After landing Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, whom they traded for a couple days earlier, comparing the Red Sox lineup to the Angels’ batting order is like comparing Apple to some little computer start-up company.

Boston will be everyone’s favorite heading into 2011, with a group featuring Crawford, Gonzalez, Kevin Youklis, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury et al, to go along with a premier pitching staff.

How does that compare with an Angels’ lineup that, as of today, would include such feared hitters as Macier Izturis, Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Jeff Mathis and Peter Bourjos? Exactly.

And yes, the gentleman you see smiling sinisterly in the background is Scott Boras. The dreaded agent, who is not one of Moreno’s favorite people, now has the Angels exactly where he wants them.

Desperate to pump up an anemic offense and knowing Crawford and Werth, the two biggest free agent hitters, are no longer available, the Angels almost have no choice but to go hard after Adrian Beltre who is — ta, da — you guessed it, a Boras client.

Beltre’s price tag before last night was reported to be 5 years and $75 million. This is just a wild guess, but it probably is about to go up several million.

Same goes for Boras’ other client, closer Rafael Soriano, whom the Angels also covet, although they won’t officially admit it. His price tag, too, is likely to rise now.

If all this surprises most Angels fans, some of us weren’t fooled. When Werth signed that $126 million deal, you read in this blog that Moreno would be the first to bail on Crawford, knowing the outfielder’s price would skyrocket accordingly.

Don’t get me wrong. The Angels’ owner has every right to do that. It is his money. If he doesn’t want to spend that much, it’s fine.

But if that’s the case, you can’t go around portraying yourself as this big-spending guy who will do anything to make Angels’ fans happy. Because it’s not true.

The real Arte Moreno has finally stood up. And now we all know what he is really about.

He’s great at lowering beer prices. He’s just not so great when it comes to stepping up and signing the Carl Crawfords of the world.

— STEVE BISHEFF

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4 Responses to “OK, Explain This One, Arte”

  1. Too say I am bitterly disappointed is putting it mildly. Arte is exposed, as is Reggins who is at best not competent.
    And please, no more recruiting by Tori Hunter. What is he now 0 for 3?
    Don’t you just hate that we are no longer competitive. Just a big market team acting in a very whimpy way. This is not good for baseball and will negatively effect Angels attendance. You made your bed Arte via raised expectations. No you must lie in it.

  2. Outside of the Hunter deal – what has Reagins done! With Crawford now with Bosox, Yanks will go harder after Lee leaving only Beltre and Soriano to “bail out” Moreno after losing AGAIN the #1 Target. Hopefully a trade or two will help – too many “little” infielders, Wood, and one too many catchers. Do something Tony!!

  3. Reagins has proven himself to be a rank amateur time and again, so why be surprised now? Moreno, IF he is serious about improving this team, he should hire a real general manager. You know, someone like Bill Stoneman. What did Moreno the asking price for Crawford to be? If Werth, a player who has never hit .300 or driven in 100 runs, could command such a contract did he expect to get Crawford for less? Now, The fight for Adrian Beltre, a player who seemingly only performs well during a contract year, begins. Who is his agent? Scott Boras. Maybe Arte should raise the price of beer to make up for the inflated contract he will have to offer. Actually a fan friendly move would be to bring back Vladdy. It would appear that a trade with a team who wants to dump a big contract will be the way the Angels go. Of course, if the fans continue to flock to the Big A, what real incentive is there to spend a ton to improve this team?

  4. Moreno approved going to 7 years and 142 million. Reagins had an 11 pm meeting with Crawford’s agent, but before the meeting, he came to terms with Boston. Crawford said if the money was the same, he wanted Boston and the AL East… Can’t blame Moreno for that. I know it’s disappointing we didn’t land him, but Moreno was prepared to pony up for him.

    As for Reagins, I find it funny when people say he does nothing… He traded Cabrera, Signed Torii, Traded for Tex, Kazmir, Callaspo, and Haren mid season. You might not like what he does, but he is active… His predecessor, Bill Stoneman was the one who dis nothing.


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