Cal Ripken Jr. says he is exploring opportunities that would lead him back to a big league job and he is having ongoing discussions with the Orioles about that possibility.
In a five-paragraph statement issued through his spokesman, Ripken said he has talked with Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail about the potential of joining the front office of the Orioles, a club for which he played all 21 seasons of his big league career.
"I have met with Andy and Peter on a number of occasions to discuss many subjects. Ultimately our discussions have turned to baseball, the Orioles and me," Ripken said in the prepared statement. "I have enjoyed those talks very much, and, yes, the subject has been broached about me potentially joining the organization. I look forward to those talks continuing."
Ripken's statement is in response to a Fox Sports report that he wanted to return to the Orioles in a front office capacity, but that Angelos had shot down that request. In his statement, Ripken did not address whether a specific job was discussed or offered, but he rebuked claims by Fox Sports' sources that Angelos told Ripken that Ripken wouldn't be hired because he didn't want the Hall of Famer to receive credit for an Orioles resurgence.
"Mr. Angelos never said that he didn't want me to get credit for any success that the club might have. That's just not true," Ripken said. "I have had a very good relationship with Peter for a long time. He has been an advisor to me, a great supporter of my foundation and it is because of him that we have an Orioles affiliate in Aberdeen."
Since he retired in 2001, Ripken has been involved in various endeavors, including Ripken Baseball, which runs the Orioles' short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds in Ripken's hometown as well as two other minor league teams that aren't affiliated with the Orioles. When he retired, Ripken said he wanted to get back into the major leagues in some capacity once his two children were grown. His youngest, Ryan, is a sophomore at Gilman.
"With my son Ryan approaching the end of high school in a couple of years, I have been thinking more seriously about a return to the big league game," Ripken said in the statement. "I am more excited now to explore all opportunities and find the right situation that could lead me to the next phase of my life."
Ripken had no other comment on the matter.
Angelos also has denied the report, saying that Ripken never asked for a job and he didn't think Ripken would ever take a secondary position in any organization. Angelos stressed that MacPhail was in charge of the team, but said that if Ripken wanted to join the Orioles in a lesser role, he would listen.
"If [Ripken] expressed the wish to do that in some secondary position with the Orioles, which I think he'd never do, obviously, that would be something that will be considered seriously," Angelos said Saturday. "But Cal has many interests and is a very busy guy. I don't think he's ever considered himself available to play some secondary role with the ballclub, and appropriately so."
On Monday, Angelos reiterated that he and Ripken have a good relationship. He declined further comment.
Several Hall of Famers have re-joined their organization in top spots. Nolan Ryan is the president of the Texas Rangers and oversees all aspects of the club.
George Brett is vice president of baseball operations for the Kansas City Royals, but that is more of a ceremonial ambassador role with some spring training responsibilities than a decision-making position.
It's likely that if Ripken did join the Orioles, his role would be more like Brett's than Ryan's, at least initially.