The LA Times’ T.J. Simers can‘t properly stalk the Bad Lieutenant during the offseason, so instead, he turns his attention Tuesday morning to Angels owner Arte Moreno.
Although the Angels hold out hope they will still land a power-hitting first or third baseman, Moreno has already told his wife he might have to “eat duck.”
When told that most people would expect him to eat crow, Moreno said, “If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. I knew as soon as the words came out of my mouth, my foot was going in there.
“For four years I’ve been telling my baseball people they will make the baseball decisions, and then I go and say something like that. But I don’t eat crow; duck maybe with a bottle of wine, but not crow.”
Moreno has spent $50 million to shore up the defense in center field with the signing of Gary Matthews Jr. and another $18 million to improve depth in the bullpen with the acquisition of Justin Speier. But like last season, and the season before that, the Angels continue to lack the power hitter to protect Vladimir Guerrero and take advantage of his skills.
“I’m an optimistic person, and so I’d like to think we’ll still get a call to make something like that happen,” Moreno said. “But listen, I think we can win 90 games next season with the team we have right now ” and win our division.”
Don’t worry, I informed him on your behalf that he’s nuts.
“Don’t fry us yet,” Moreno said. “I’ll write a letter of apology or do whatever people want if I’m wrong.
“In fact I will give money back to anyone who bought season tickets and doesn’t believe we have a good team,” Moreno said, while pointing out his UCLA furniture store-like offer must be accepted before the season begins. “I’ve always believed in refunding the tickets if someone doesn’t believe we’re giving them good service and that applies here.”
The Angels thought they could solve their problems by signing Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez elected to stay in Chicago at the free-agent deadline. They made a seven-year offer to free agent Alfonso Soriano for $115 million, only to watch him sign with the Cubs for $136 million.
“I never thought I’d get outbid by $21 million,” said Moreno, who was under the impression the Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs and The Times, was having financial problems and was about to be sold.
For $136 million, “I might as well have just given him the franchise,” said Moreno, who bought the Angels four years ago for $180 million. “I had to make the decision to eat duck or try to maintain some kind of sanity. If you sign a player like that and he gets hurt, he can ruin your franchise.”