SBD/March 11, 2013/Franchises

Nolan Ryan Breaks Silence, But Offers No Clarity On Future With Rangers

Ryan said conversations about his role with the team have been productive
MLB Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan yesterday "broke 10 days of complete silence and issued a statement saying he intends to continue to talk" to team co-Chairs Bob Simpson and Ray Davis about his role with the team following the promotions of Jon Daniels and Rick George, according to Evan Grant of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Ryan in the statement said, "The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward." Grant writes the "uniqueness of this situation is part of what makes it so difficult to envision." In the "hierarchy of all 30 teams, there does not appear to be a structure similar to the one the Rangers have proposed." Of the other 29 MLB teams, the CEO "holds at least one other title in 19 cases." Ryan has a seat on the Rangers BOD, but Simpson and Davis "ultimately make the major financial decisions." Ryan owns a "small percentage of stock in the team and during cash calls over the last two years, he’s let the percentage shrink more." Grant: "Ideally, the Rangers would like to create a mix where Ryan and Daniels either build a consensus or agree to compromise on various decisions." The Rangers have a "unique situation" and to "make it work long-term, it will take a unique approach to decision-making" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/11). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote Ryan's statement leaves "the door wide open to Nolan staying, and leaving." Engel: "Clearly the Rangers are in full crisis, red-alert, oh-crap spin control mode." For fans of Ryan, the statement is "encouraging because it's not a giant middle finger to the franchise and a declaration of departure." But it is also "is not totally encouraging because it does not say he is going to remain with the team" (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 3/10).

SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?  In Dallas, Peppard & Fraley wrote despite the "initial flurry of positive reports, Ryan’s future with the Rangers remained in doubt" yesterday (DALLASNEWS.com, 3/10). In Ft. Worth, Drew Davison cites sources as saying that the "optimism that Ryan will remain with the team that surfaced Saturday is beginning to erode somewhat." Sources said that Ryan "has two obligations he made months ago to fulfill: in San Antonio for the Rangers’ two exhibition games there March 29-30, and in Houston during the Rangers’ season-opening series against the Astros" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/11). ESPN DALLAS' Jean-Jacques Taylor wrote the Rangers "can thrive without him, but they're a better organization with him -- and it has zero to do with him being a Texas icon." Ryan is a "patient boss, a man who understands hasty decisions aren't always the best." Taylor: "Heck, that's probably why he's taking his time to study his role with the Rangers" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 3/10).

BEHIND THE SCENES: The DALLAS MORNING NEWS' Grant wrote, "Forget complete clarity on roles; if everybody is on the same page in basic philosophy, the club will be better for it." It may "never be entirely clear who has final say in what baseball decisions. And it need not be." The Rangers' ownership and BOD "may have bobbled the ball in how they handled the promotions of Daniels and Rick George to presidents of their respective divisions (baseball and business) in that it required removing a title from Ryan’s desk plate." The front-office moves were "designed to set the organization up for long-term stability by establishing a line of succession." There is now "plenty of room for promotions beneath Daniels/George and Ryan to retain bright young baseball and business minds." Ryan is 66, and the "fact he is running the franchise for a sixth year is, quite frankly, a little bit of a surprise" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/10). In Ft. Worth, Randy Galloway cited a source as saying that if there is "anyone who could reach an agreement with Ryan, it would be Simpson, the Fort Worth resident who is considered Ryan’s No. 1 ally in the ownership group" (FT. WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, 3/9). Meanwhile, in Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote, "There is always a Houston rumor associated with Ryan, but that seems to make even less sense, given the direction of Astros management toward statistic-driven decisions" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/10).
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