Angels owner Arte Moreno is leaving little uncertainty as to his club’s offseason intentions, judging by comments made to reporters on Thursday. “Payroll will go up next year,” Moreno declared today, according to a tweet from Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (link).
After signing manager Joe Maddon to a fairly lucrative three-year, $12MM managerial contract, it appears that Moreno and executive Billy Eppler may have their eyes on a few of free agency’s big game targets. In fact, Moreno’s historical willingness to spend may have been a key benefit to the managing job that Maddon accepted: “Obviously, Arte’s never been worried about spending money,” Maddon told reporters last week when asked if the club’s past openness to big-dollar deals was a selling point in the skipper’s decision to come on board in Anaheim (hat tip to The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya for that quote).
It remains to be seen how, exactly, the Angels will go about expanding a payroll that checked in at roughly $160MM in 2019. The name of Gerrit Cole has already been tied frequently to the Angels in recent weeks, as the pitcher’s Southern California roots and the club’s longstanding lack of pitching depth appear to make the two parties a logical fit. Trevor Cahill’s $9MM 2019 salary will come off the books this winter, and the club could also save $13MM in declining their club option on Kole Calhoun. If payroll will indeed exceed the $160MM, then the club should have some financial breathing room even after accounting for modest arbitration raises for players like Tommy La Stella and Andrew Heaney.