For Matt Klentak, it took a perfect storm to carry him from the Orioles’ front office to the one in Anaheim.
Klentak did his research on Jerry Dipoto while the Orioles conducted interviews for Andy MacPhail’s replacement. Dipoto did his own research on the Orioles’ executives, which allowed him to learn plenty about Klentak.
Both men came away impressed, and now they’ll reunite with the Angels, who announced on Wednesday that Klentak had been hired as assistant general manager and will work under Dipoto.
“It was a tough decision,” Klentak, 31, said earlier today in a phone interview.
“Ultimately, it’s an opportunity I just felt like I couldn’t pass up. The Angels have a great staff. It’s a great organization that’s had a lot of success over the last decade or so, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and to start working with those guys. On the flipside, any time any of us changes jobs in this industry, it can be very difficult, and that’s largely driven by the fact that in Baltimore, there are so many good people and I’m going to miss going to work every day with all of these people in the warehouse like I’ve been doing the last four years.
“I appreciate the opportunity the Angelos family has given me. I can’t thank Andy MacPhail enough for his decision to hire me and bring me aboard in 2008. And not only the decision to bring me aboard, but to mentor me and trust me with a lot of things he trusted me with. It was a great four years. I really enjoyed it. I’ll miss the people, I’ll miss the fans, I’ll miss the beautiful ballpark. Lauren and I will really miss the friendships we’ve made. We made Baltimore our home. We started a family here.
Klentak’s responsibilities in Anaheim will largely mirror what he did in Baltimore - he was involved in scouting, player development, contract negotiations and rules interpretations, among other things - but his title changes from director of baseball operations to assistant general manager, which suggests a more prominent role. And on paper, at least, it appears to be a promotion.
As one baseball executive said, “It’s a step in the northbound direction.”
Klentak accompanied new executive vice president Dan Duquette to the GM meetings in Milwaukee, where he met with Dipoto. He decided to accept the Angels’ offer Tuesday while traveling to Michigan to visit his grandmother for the Thanksgiving holiday, and the news leaked to the media the following day.
“Dan Duquette was terrific throughout the process,” Klentak said. “He was very supportive. We communicated well. He and I chatted daily about where things stood and what I was thinking and what things might be like if I stayed and if I left. He really couldn’t thave been better about this thing.
“No way, shape or form did I decide to leave because of Dan Duquette or any particular person. We (Klentak and his wife) just felt like this was the best move for us, the best career opportunity and an opportunity we didn’t want to let pass by. I don’t know that an opportunity like this comes up every year. That was big factor in it.”