The Orioles, losers of nine of their first 10 games, could use a little help.
Yet, owner Peter Angelos recently declined to hire the franchise's biggest legend, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., in a baseball capacity, according to multiple major-league sources.
Ripken met with Andy MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations, about rejoining the organization, sources said.
Angelos, however, nixed the idea in a separate conversation with Ripken, telling him, according to three sources, that he did not want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence.
Ripken did not discuss a specific role with MacPhail, one source said. However, another source said that Ripken wanted to work with young players such as catcher Matt Wieters and help them "finish off" their developments at the major-league level.
Ripken and MacPhail, according to that source, agreed that their relationship could be mutually beneficial. Ripken would have helped MacPhail with his vast baseball knowledge. MacPhail would have helped Ripken learn the administrative side of the game.
Angelos, however, was reluctant to create any perception that MacPhail was not fully in control, a source said.
The Orioles, before hiring MacPhail in June 2007, employed co-general managers for a period of about six years. The arrangement raised questions of accountability and drew widespread criticism inside and outside the industry.
Angelos also might have been concerned about putting a legend such as Ripken in a position to fail, a situation that would have been uncomfortable for all.
But Ripken was not seeking significant front-office responsibility, sources said. He merely wanted to become part of the baseball operation and help the club.
The Orioles have endured 12 straight losing seasons since their last postseason appearance in 1997. Their poor start has led to speculation that manager Dave Trembley could lose his job – a job in which Ripken would have no interest, sources said.
Ripken, who broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, retired in 2001 after 21 seasons with the Orioles, his only team.
He is now the chairman and CEO of Ripken Baseball Inc., which owns three Class A franchises, including the Orioles' affiliate in his hometown of Aberdeen, Md.