MLB Franchise Notes: Angels' Struggles Taking Their Toll On Arte Moreno
USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale notes the Angels made the playoffs five times in Arte Moreno's first six full seasons as owner, but is “on track to miss the postseason a fourth straight season.” As a result, his reputation has “taken its share of hits,” including being “lambasted for lavishing riches on players who appear to be in decline," including 1B Albert Pujols and LF Josh Hamilton. Moreno was one of MLB’s “most accessible owners when he purchased the club” in ’03, but now he has “become almost a recluse with the local media.” Moreno said, "It's one thing to be criticized, but when people start taking attacking someone personally, really personally, that's a line you cross. And some of these people are just flat-ass cynical” (USA TODAY, 6/24).
OFFENSIVE ATTACK? ESPN’s Buster Olney reported the “big question about the Mets going forward” is whether they are "going to spend the money to augment the team around" Ps Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The Mets only have about $40M in "payroll obligations for guys who are actually active and on their roster, so are they going to grow that" this offseason. Mets GM Sandy Alderson recently mentioned a payroll of around $80-90M next season, but sources said that if ownership "doesn’t expand the payroll to that level, they wonder how much longer Sandy will stay around” ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 6/23).
GROUND SWELL: In DC, Thomas Boswell wrote just as the crowds “grow at Nationals Park, boasting the biggest increase of any team in ’13, the air is steadily going out of the club that plays there.” This season the Nats’ average attendance of 33,894 has moved the club “into the sport’s top 10 (ninth) for the first time since the quaint days when baseball only had 16 teams.” In many cities, a rise like the Nationals’ current spike “hints at another jump to an eventual string of near-sellout years.” That is, if the team “plays well or, at least, does everything reasonable to contend and strengthen its bond with fans” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/24).