Arte Moreno, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels, made some news this week when he announced that he would start the process of selling the team. Under his leadership, the Angels have been one of the more disappointing teams in baseball. In today’s MLB rankings, we will explore Arte Moreno and others in contention as the worst owner in MLB.
The Worst Owner in MLB Rankings
To be the worst owner in MLB, an owner has to have some combination of an unwillingness to spend, and an inability to field a consistently competitive team all while providing supporters with a negative fan experience. Lack of playoff experience, the inability to develop and keep homegrown talent and negative relationships with the local community can all further the argument to end up on this list.
Arte Moreno – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The soon-to-be former owner of the Los Angeles Angels, Arte Moreno, purchased the defending World Series champions in 2003 from the Walt Disney Company. In his 20-year ownership, the team has made the playoffs in only six seasons, with the most recent being 2014, despite possessing two of the most exciting players, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, in recent seasons.
Unlike some other teams on this list, Arte Moreno has shown that he is frequently willing to pay top-dollar to push his team into meaningful October baseball. Unfortunately for the Angels, this team-building strategy has seen the team strapped with long-term/high-dollar contracts. The signings of Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson and Anthony Rendon have all backfired on the team.
Arte Moreno also found himself being sued by the city of Anaheim for changing the name of the team to the very confusing Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
John J Fisher – Oakland A’s
Sadly for the American League West, Arte Moreno isn’t the only owner in this MLB rankings. Since 2005, John J Fisher has led the Oakland A’s to 7 Postseason appearances despite their usual bottom-of-the-barrel payroll.
Due to their lack of spending, A’s fans have seen the departure of stars including Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Sonny Gray, Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman. But despite the constant change of players, the team has usually found ways to maintain competitive seasons.
Instead of a lack of success, Fisher makes the list for the disaster that is the Oakland Coliseum. Easily seen as the worst stadium in the sport, the once proud Coliseum is now known for its infamous sewage problems, possums and painful game-day experience.
Bob Castellini – Cincinnati Reds
Robert “Bob” Castellini became the primary owner of the Cincinnati Reds following the 2005 season. Under his ownership, the Reds have found their way into the Postseason on four occasions. Despite being led by future Hall of Famer Joey Votto, the team has struggled to build a consistent winner. Heading into this season, the team sold off veteran fan favorites Amir Garrett, Nick Castellanos, Trevor Barnhart, Eugenio Suarez, Sonny Gray and Jesse Winker.
After fans complained about the team’s direction, ownership really angered their fans when Phil Castellini, the team’s COO and son of Bob, responded. Instead of calming down the supporters, the younger Castellini threatened to move the team.
Peter Angelos – Baltimore Orioles
In his nearly 30-year ownership, the Baltimore Orioles have been a mess under the leadership of Peter Angelos and his family. During their reign, the team has made the playoffs five times while losing over 90 games 11 times.
The biggest issue for the Orioles has been the lack of a clear team-building strategy. From big contracts to Miguel Tejada, Raphael Palmiero and Chris Davis to the outright decade-long refusal to invest in international free agents, the team has always found themselves looking up at the rest of the division.
This year, the team is on a magical run as they try to claw their way into the Postseason despite infighting from the team’s ownership. This summer, brothers Louis and John Angelos have claimed the other was trying to move the team resulting in an inter-family lawsuit.
Robert “Bottom-Line Bob” Nutting – Pittsburgh Pirates
A very strong case can be made that Bottom-Line Bob is not only the worst owner in MLB but the worst owner in sports.
In January of 2007, Robert Nutting became the principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Under his leadership, the team has only made the playoffs in three seasons. Pirates fans have unfortunately seen their team on the wrong side of most MLB rankings of worst trades in recent MLB history.
The team has received very little production in the returns of trades including Gerrit Cole, Joe Musgrove, Jameson Taillon, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen. Meanwhile, when the team “buy” in a trade, they sent talented prospects Tyler Glasnow, Shane Baz and Austin Meadows in the notorious Chris Archer trade. As a result, the MLBPA accused the team of salary dumps and failing to field a competitive team.
Most recently, before the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette released findings that team salary was tied directly to ticket and concession sales and that any money from revenue sharing and TV contracts would be kept by ownership as profit.
How did we do with our worst owner in MLB rankings? Let us know in the comments below!
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