Major League Baseball sees billions in profits each and every year and that number, assuming the lockout doesn’t destroy fan engagement, is likely to continue to increase. Like it does with every sport, every year. Billionaires wouldn’t be billionaires if that weren’t the case.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sport an ownership group — allowing them to be more flexible given the amount of diversified money at their disposal — which one could argue gives them an advantage. Big market, big ownership group, more willingness to spend. It’s easy to see.
Despite that, it doesn’t give other, single entities the excuse to cheap out. And learning of the neighboring Los Angeles Angels (in addition to the Detroit Tigers) rejecting a Competitive Balance Tax increase of $10 million should infuriate Dodgers fans and other big market fans across MLB.
Why? Arte Moreno, who has two of the league’s biggest stars on his roster but continues to hire incapable executives to build around them, is worth $3.6 billion himself. The Ilitch family, who owns the Tigers, is worth over $6 billion.
And we’re talking about $10 million here.
Dodgers fans should be infuriated with Angels owner Arte Moreno.
It’s egregious enough that Moreno oversees a team led by Trout that’s made the playoffs ONCE since 2010 and hasn’t notched a single postseason win since 2009. Then he was graced with the modern day Babe Ruth when Shohei Ohtani chose the Angels over the Yankees and signed for a bargain (he’s making $5.5 million in 2022).
Supporting cast members Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton, David Fletcher and Jared Walsh somehow haven’t been enough because the pitching is frequently a bottom unit in the league. Despite residing in the country’s second-biggest market, Moreno and the Angels have passed the $180 million mark with their payroll just once (and it came in 2021).
This mirrors the only other neighboring team situation we have in MLB — the Yankees and Mets. For years, until Hal Steinbrenner started pulling back a bit, the Yankees were the unquestioned spending behemoth, while the Mets, just a few miles away, constantly penny-pinched under the Wilpons’ reign. What’s the point of having two teams in the biggest markets if one is going to lag significantly behind the other?
But those Mets never possessed a situation the Angels have. LA arguably has the face of baseball in Trout and one of the biggest international stars of all time in Ohtani. And this owner is holding up the season because of an unwillingness to increase spending by a fraction of his worth and even the overall payrolls?
This is the concern many have about owners “caring” about baseball. Does Moreno? Because he’s watching an all-time Hall of Famer enter his age-30 season with just a handful of playoff at-bats and is playing a role in the lockout overshadowing Ohtani’s historic two-way season fans haven’t seen in a lifetime.