First Arte Moreno tells us the Angels will aggressively spend to fill their holes. Then he tells us they never even made an offer to Carl Crawford. Now he wants us to believe that the lack of spending is really for the good of the fans. It sure seems like Arte Moreno is talking out of both sides of his mouth. Is there even one side worth believing anymore?
Sorry, Arte, we aren't buying the lies you are selling.
Up until the events of recent weeks, you wouldn't find a more ardent supporter of Arte Moreno than myself. What he has done for the Angels in his tenure as owner is something we fans should be eternally grateful for. But his touch on the Angel franchise is starting to lose its Midas-like qualities.
Back in October, he was asked if he would spend whatever it took to return to the playoffs, to which he responded, "Yes, that's how I feel. That's what I'll do." It was the perfect response to a fairly obvious question. More importantly, it was exactly what the fans wanted to here. At the time, that wasn't a problem because we had no reason to not believe him. Now, well, I'll let Arte answer that one himself with a quote from his interview last week.
Oh, I guess what good ol' Uncle Arte meant was that they were going to spend whatever it took provided it wasn't a risk to him financially. That would've been some nice clarification to have two months ago before we fans worked ourselves into a fervor over the prospect of Carl Crawford joining the team. And it isn't like Mr. Moreno suddenly developed a sense of financial restraint over the last several weeks; he didn't get this rich without always knowing the big picture. He also didn't get rich without knowing how to do a little PR work.
Fresh off a disappointing losing campaign, Moreno needed to do something to rally the morale of a bitterly frustrated fan base. What better marketing ploy than to have them think a huge free agent spending binge was on the horizon, thus keeping the fans engaged and eager to renew those season tickets. By the time they figure out that the spending spree isn't coming, their checks would already be in the mail. Bravo, Arte, bravo.
But in my naivete, I actually still believed Arte even after the Crawford Catastrophe, up until he actually tried to convince us that they never got a shot at Crawford, claiming that the team never even made an actual offer. Riiiiiiiiiiight. I suppose that the detailed report of the Angels' very specific offers to Crawford as well as their reaction to the way the negotiating process unfolded was all just conjured out of thin air. Please. does he think we are idiots... or Mariners fans?
Seriously, what is more likely, that ESPN's Gordon Edes got an intricate but fabricated recounting of the Crawford dealings or that Moreno is simply denying the report in an effort to not look like his front office just got pantsed in front of the entire baseball-loving population of America? I don't think you need to have a genius-level understanding of Occam's razor to figure that little riddle out.
The problem now is that we can't believe anything that comes out of Arte's mouth. In that recent interview, he once again tried to raise the morale of the Halo faithful by boldly stating that the team has made a "significant" offer to Adrian Beltre. That is a highly believable statement since Beltre fills such a big hole for the Angels and because we all still want to believe that some big spending is in the cards for the Angels. But is this just another fib from our owner?
Alas, I think it might be. Once again, in that same interview, Moreno contradicts his own foretelling of free agent glory. He essentially pleads poverty in the Crawford talks, saying it would be nuts to pay $20 million a year for any one player and that the expense would be so great that he would have no choice but to raise ticket prices (a shameless attempt to tug on the heartstrings of the fans in these tough economic times). So now we are supposed to believe that he is going to pay $14+ million per year to Adrian Beltre? Somehow tacking that hefty chunk of change onto the payroll isn't going to hurt his precious bottom line? Something has to give and I sure hope that it doesn't mean Moreno will be trotted out before the press again in a few weeks to deliver some more poorly thought out obfuscation as to why Beltre somehow got away.
Look, I know I am coming down pretty hard on Arte Moreno, and I certainly am not alone, but he damaged the most important asset he had as an owner, the trust of the fans. Maybe he really did mean all of those things he said back when the season ended and he just couldn't figure out how to cash the check his mouth just wrote. He was mad and he shot his mouth off, it happens. Just own up to it; don't start telling lies to try and cover it up. Those lies have a way of gathering in a snowball-type effect that eventually bites you in the ass. Geesh, it is almost like Arte never watched a single family sitcom in the 80's or something.