There will be no answers for a while, but the scenario is not new for Southland baseball fans.
The potential sale of the Angels comes about 10 years after the the dodgers It went through a change of ownership. Ned Colletti was the team’s general manager when Frank McCourt agreed to sell the team in November 2011.
“We had a payroll, we had a budget and we did what we did,” Colletti said. “Our payroll decreased. We just had to work with what we had. We weren’t banned from trading, but we had a budget to live under.”
The Dodgers’ payroll at the start of the 2011 season was about $120 million. At the start of the 2012 season, it was around $105 million, which ranked 10th in baseball.
The 2012 Angels, who finished third in the American League West and didn’t make the playoffs, had a payroll of more than $151 million. After the Dodgers’ sale to Guggenheim became official in May 2012, payroll increased dramatically, ending the year at around $129 million.
“My roster had a lot of players on one-year contracts, who could play hard, not too talented, they were a certain age on the team,” Colletti said. “We tried to get players to sign a one-year contract, to compete. That was the goal at the beginning of 2012.”
Veterans Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston Jr., Adam Kennedy, Jamey Wright and Matt Treanor were among the eight veterans signed to one- and two-year contracts the winter before the 2012 season. And they all got the deal.
Hairston knew he wanted to retire and wanted to sign no more than a two-year deal when he and his agent talked to the Dodgers.
“I wasn’t Matt Kemp, I wasn’t Derek Jeter, but I was adamant about signing a two-year deal,” Hairston said of his two-year, $6 million deal. “Obviously it wouldn’t hurt the sale of the team because it wasn’t scandalous. But I knew that was the process. … And I knew whoever was going to buy the Dodgers was going to take them to new heights.”
Asked what advice he might give to players, like the Angels, going into an offseason in which new team ownership will be discussed, Hairston said, “No matter what happens, your job is to be a player. of baseball. It doesn’t matter who owns the franchise. There is so much you can control. You can’t control that aspect. All you can control is the performance on the pitch.”
After the Dodgers’ new ownership took hold, Colletti made a number of midseason moves, including signing Yasiel Puig and Julio Urías, and trading for Adrián González and Hanley Ramírez. The Dodgers (86-76) made a late-season effort, but were eliminated from the wild-card race in the penultimate game of the season.
The winter before the 2012 season, the Dodgers faced a situation similar to the one the Angels now face: a star on the verge of free agency. McCourt was able to sign Kemp, the 2011 runner-up in NL MVP voting, to an eight-year, $160 million contract, at the time the largest contract in NL history.
The Angels had a chance to do the same thing with Ohtani that the Dodgers did with Kemp, but they got a one-year deal worth $30 million instead, for the 2023 season. That deal allows Ohtani and the Angels to avoid arbitration: Ohtani was eligible for arbitration after this season.
Ohtani is still eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.
In contrast, the Washington Nationals, also up for sale, didn’t let a new owner decide Juan Soto’s future. The Nationals traded Soto to the San Diego Padres. The Nationals offered Soto a 15-year, $440 million extension this season, but he turned it down.
The Angels did not comment on questions about baseball operations in the offseason as part of their policy as the team explores a sale.
Every sale presents its own challenges.
The offseason before Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler bought the Padres in August 2012, San Diego signed just one free agent, veteran Mark Kotsay, to a one-year deal. The Miami Marlins, who sold Bruce Sherman in 2017, signed five veterans to one- and two-year deals the winter before the sale became official, including Edinson Volquez and AJ Ellis.
When the Kansas City Royals went through one in 2019, Dayton Moore, then the team’s general manager, went about his usual business.
“I have a strong sense of what we can and can’t do economically,” Moore, who was promoted to president of baseball operations for this season, said in an interview in September. “And I knew there was an ownership change happening, and I traded accordingly. He knew where we were in the rebuilding process.”
The Royals won two American League pennants and a World Series during Moore’s time as general manager. He was fired on September 21, three years after the change in ownership. The Dodgers won NL West titles in 2013 and 2014, but Colletti was ousted as general manager two years after the change in ownership.
The Angels under Perry Minasian, who signed a four-year deal as general manager in November 2020, posted a 77-85 record in 2021 and are 73-86 in 2022.
This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.