Klentak talks about leaving the Orioles

Matt Klentak, who spent the last four years as the Orioles’ director of baseball operations, said today that leaving the club to become an assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Angels was just too good of a career move to ignore.

“This is a great opportunity,” Klentak, 31, said. “It has nothing to do with the (Orioles) team and the change in regime. It’s an opportunity that (my wife) Lauren and I didn’t feel we could pass up.”

Klentak, a Dartmouth College graduate and Massachusetts native, was in Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department for four years before being hand-picked by former Orioles’ president Andy MacPhail in 2008 to be one of his top lieutenants. That distinction at such a young age propelled Klentak into “future GM” discussions.

“I’m thankful to the Angelos family and I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity that Andy MacPhail provided for me to start my (front office) career in Baltimore,” Klentak said. “Lauren and I really enjoyed our time living in Baltimore, I started a family here and there are a lot of people we will miss.”

In Baltimore, Klentak was primarily responsible for arbitration, contractual negotiations and rules interpretations. He’ll likely do a lot of that in Anaheim, but now will have the “assistant general manager” title and likely will be more involved in to day-to-day decisions.

“It’s just the opportunity to go to Anaheim and work with Jerry Dipoto and that entire organization,” Klentak said. “I am looking forward to building a winner out in Anaheim.”

Dipoto was the first candidate the Orioles interviewed this offseason for their top executive spot which eventually went to Dan Duquette. Dipoto and Klentak did not have a previous working relationship, but apparently Dipoto had collected enough information on Klentak from others during routine research for the Orioles’ job that there was a potential match in LA once Dipoto was hired.

Klentak said he was obviously interested in the Orioles’ search for his new boss and had checked with his own contacts about Dipoto. So when the Angels came calling, Klentak was intrigued. Still, he said, it was a tough decision personally to leave behind the friends he made with the Orioles

“The hardest part about this is knowing I will not be able to come to work and work with the great people I have gotten to know in the last four years in Baltimore,” he said. “But I am confident the Angels have a lot of great people and I am looking forward to working with them.”

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