Angels owner Arte Moreno reveals he wanted to pursue Trea Turner in MLB free agency

Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has never shied away from adding stars to his roster. Over the years, Moreno has greenlit free-agent deals for the likes of Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero, Justin Upton, and Anthony Rendon, to name a few. If Moreno had prevailed in the offseason, the Angels might have added another household name to their roster: shortstop Trea Turner.

Earlier this week, Moreno revealed to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated in a wide-ranging interview that he’s been pushing general manager Perry Minasian to pursue Turner in the offseason. For his part, Minasian argued that the Angels would be in a better position if they took a portfolio approach to address other weaknesses in the roster and improve their overall depth. Here’s what Moreno told Verducci about it:

“I kept saying, ‘What about Turner? Is that what we need?’” says Moreno. Minasian, he says, told him the angels had other needs besides shortstop.

“I said, ‘You mean you need more than just gymnasts?'” says Moreno. “He says, ‘Yes.’ So it’s about the distribution of the money. Is it one player who makes a splash? Or is it, ‘Hey, we can spend this money on two or three players.'”

While Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million pact with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Angels instead added seven players to their prospective roster for opening day: starter Tyler Anderson, outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Brett Phillips, who Infielders Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela, and relievers Carlos Estevez and Matt Moore. These seven players will collectively make nearly $60 million in 2023, or nearly double what Turner will take home this season.

The Angels are expected to field a combination of David Fletcher and Urshela at shortstop earlier this season. Zach Neto, the club’s first-round pick last summer, could also soon reach the majors. CBS Sports recently ranked Neto as the 46th best prospect in MLB and wrote the following:

The Angels drafted Neto with a 13th draft pick last July before quickly taking him to Double-A level. He held his own there, hitting .320/.382/.492 in 30 games. Neto was highly regarded by scouts going into the draft thanks to his baseball IQ and ability to hit the ball hard at a good angle without selling himself or sacrificing his contact chops. He’s also a passable shortstop, although he’s probably considered a second division player there. The Angels appear to be continuing their aggressive schedule with Neto, making him a compelling candidate to make his debut early in the 2023 season.

Whether the Angels’ offseason strategy will result in a better year remains to be seen. Los Angeles has failed to make the playoffs or set a winning record in five seasons in which Trout and Ohtani were included in the same roster. Some notable projection systems seem to think that will change this year.

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