The mayor of Anaheim came away from Tuesday night's city council meeting convinced that Angels owner Arte Moreno is looking to leave the city the team has called home since 1966.
But Angels President John Carpino said the team would use a three-year extension on the opt-out of its current stadium lease to explore ways to remain in Anaheim, not bolt.
"Based on the city council's actions, we're hopeful a deal can be made and we can stay in Anaheim for many years to come," Carpino said before the Angels' 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. "We want to be part of a community and deliver a high-quality fan experience."
BOX SCORE: Tampa Bay 3, Angels 1
City consultant Charles Black told the council that Moreno "has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium" and could move to Irvine, Irwindale or "at least half a dozen potential sites" in downtown Los Angeles.
After the council elected by a 4-1 vote to enter formal lease negotiations with the Angels and extend the opt-out in the lease from 2016 to 2019, Mayor Tom Tait, who opposed the extension, said the vote "makes it easier" for the Angels to depart.
"If they do leave in three years," Tait said, "you can trace it right back to the action of this council tonight."
Moreno won a lengthy legal battle against the city to change the team's name from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005, and he has always sought to expand his fan base by marketing the club throughout Southern California, not just Orange County.
Carpino would not comment when asked whether team officials have held discussions with other cities.
But he said the team has begun to explore whether it would be more cost-efficient to spend the $130 million to $150 million required to update and upgrade Angel Stadium, which opened in 1966 and underwent a $118-million renovation in 1996-97, or $600 million to $700 million to build a stadium adjacent to the current one or on another site.
The team's lease expires in 2029, but the Angels could extend it through 2036 and possibly as long as 2057 in exchange for development rights to the parking lots around the stadium.
"Do you tear the house down and rebuild it, or do you keep replacing the roof and fixing the plumbing?" Carpino said. "We're not at the point of making that decision, but it begs for questioning.
"Would $100 million be better spent as a down payment on a new stadium or to fix up this place? The six years essentially gives us time to explore it."
On second thought
It's rare, if not unheard of, for Mike Scioscia to second-guess himself, but the Angels manager admitted he may have made a mistake in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
With a runner on second base and one out, Scioscia had ace Jered Weaver pitch to Rays slugger Wil Myers, a rookie-of-the-year candidate who hit a home run in the second inning. Myers crushed his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to left field, to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead.
"We have a lot of confidence in Weav being able to expand the zone, he has great command, but I probably put a little too much on him there," Scioscia said. "It was later in the game, his pitch count was high, and that's when guys are more prone to make mistakes. In hindsight, I probably put too much on Weav to make a pitch with a base open, and Myers didn't miss it."
Weaver (9-8) tried to sweep a slider off the outside part of the plate "but I hung it over the middle of the plate, and he put it where he did," he said.
Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, 0-5 with a 9.00 earned-run average in his previous six starts, gave up four hits in 51/3 scoreless innings to improve to 11-8, and three former Angels relievers combined for 22/3 scoreless innings for the Rays.
Left-hander Alex Torres, acquired from the Angels in the 2009 Scott Kazmir trade, escaped a runner-on-second, one-out jam in the sixth. Chris Iannetta's pinch-hit home run against left-hander Jake McGee in the seventh pulled the Angels to within 3-1.
But right-hander Joel Peralta, whom the Angels let go after 2005, threw a scoreless eighth and Fernando Rodney, whom the Angels let walk as a free agent after 2011, worked the ninth for his 32nd save.
Scioscia said Peter Bourjos is still having "issues" with the broken right wrist that sidelined the center fielder from June 30 to Aug. 15. Bourjos, who is hitting .109 (five for 46) since his return, did not start Wednesday and Scioscia said he will "pace" the speedster for the rest of the season. ... Former Angels second baseman Bobby Knoop will be inducted into the team's hall of fame in a ceremony before Thursday night's game.