Los Angeles Angels outfielder Taylor Ward has won his arbitration case against the Los Angeles Angels and will make $4.8 million in 2024. The Angels filed at $4.3 million, and the two sides were unable to come to a consensus number before the arbitration deadline, meaning a judge had final say over Ward’s 2024 salary.
Ward’s case was certainly a good one, as he has shown plenty of strides made over the last two seasons. From 2018-21, Ward had made steady improvements, but never blossomed into the outfielder that the Angels felt he could be when they called him up six years ago. But that all changed in 2022.
The Angels’ right fielder began the 2022 campaign on a career-altering hot streak. He had an OPS above 1.000 through June 17 and had 47 hits in a 42-game stretch including 10 home runs and 19 total extra-base hits. Even after cooling down, he went into the All-Star Break with an .866 OPS and even being considered a snubbed selection from the Midsummer Classic.
The second half of Ward’s 2022 season was more of a rollercoaster, but when it was all said and done, he posted a slash line of .281/.360/.473 with an .833 OPS. He had a career high 23 home runs, 65 RBI and a quality ratio of 120 strikeouts to 60 walks.
Ward only played the first half of the 2023 season, as an injury to bones in his face after a scary hit-by-pitch on July 29 kept him out for the team’s last 57 games. He had a .756 OPS and 105 OPS+ in the games he did play, showing that he was still an above replacement-level player even though he had take a dip in production from the year prior.
This led the judge to conclude that Ward was worth closer to $4.8 million than $4.3, as there are no compromises allowed once an arbitration hearing begins. This was the Angels’ only arbitration loss in their two cases, as they won their case against pitcher José Suarez.
Arte Moreno might still sell Angels
Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno announced in August of 2022 that he was beginning exploratory conversations to sell the franchise after 20 years of ownership. It felt that a deal was inevitable until, less than a year later, Moreno pulled the team off the market and continued his tenure as owner, much to the disappointment of the baseball community at large.
But much has changed within the Angels organization since then. Shohei Ohtani left the franchise to join the L.A. Dodgers on a contract that the Angels would not match. And although the Angels have had opportunities to land big-name free agents, they’ve instead chosen a more frugal approach that improves the team on the margins.
Sources are saying that the reason for the less extravagant offseason is because Moreno is reportedly close to selling the team and that Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks is one of the names to watch as a buyer.