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