New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has been working this week to bolster his front office, and now, at least theoretically, he'll have another hole to fill.
Matt Klentak, the club's 31-year-old director of baseball operations, accepted an assistant general manager position with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He will be working directly with new Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, who interviewed in October for the Orioles' top executive job that eventually went to Duquette earlier this month.
"Matt had an opportunity to go to California and decided to go and we wish him well," Duquette said. "We've got some other veteran baseball people in-house that I think can handle some of the administrative duties that Matt was doing for the team."
According to an Angels press release, Klentak agreed to a multi-year deal and will focus on "all aspects of baseball operations" along with Dipoto and new assistant GM Scott Servais.
Klentak was hired by club president Andy MacPhail in March 2008 to be his top assistant and he primarily handled contracts, rule interpretations and arbitration cases. A Dartmouth College grad, he had spent the previous four years in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. He was thought to be a potential heir apparent to MacPhail, but was not interviewed this offseason when the position became available.
Duquette, who has begun the process of interviewing candidates for the organization's vacant amateur scouting director post, said his goal is to put people in roles in which they can succeed. And so a new hire may not end up in Klentak's role.
"Everybody has their own strengths that they bring to the workplace, so I am just trying to figure out what people are good at, what they are passionate about and align those two interests," he said. "So to think we are going to automatically fill the position that is open with Matt going to California, I don't know that we are going to do that."
Duquette, who also could be looking for a pro scouting director and player development director if he shuffles the current hierarchy, was hoping to have most of his staff assembled by the winter meetings, which begin December 5 in Dallas.
In other Orioles news, the club declined to offer arbitration to their two free agents, designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero and infielder Cesar Izturis, at Wednesday's deadline. The club could still re-negotiate a contract for next season with either veteran, but that almost certainly won't happen.
In 145 games with the Orioles, the 36-year-old Guerrero hit .290 with 13 homers, a .317 on-base percentage and .416 slugging percentage — all career lows for a full season. He made $8 million last year and likely would have received a raise in the arbitration process, so it would have been prudent for him to accept arbitration if offered.
"We chose not to offer [Guerrero arbitration]. We thought that was the best decision for the team," Duquette said.
Izturis, 31, played in just 18 games this season for the Orioles because of an injury. He batted .200 with one RBI in 30 at-bats. Izturis won't return to the club, but the defensive specialist is seeking a major league deal for 2012 and several teams have shown interest, according to his representation.
Also, according to Duquette, the Orioles remain in negotiations with South Korean submariner Chong Tae-Hyon on a major league deal. The 33-year-old right-hander is expected to sign with the club, but an official announcement likely won't come until next week.
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