SBD/March 13, 2013/Franchises

Rangers Want Nolan Ryan Involved, But Decision-Making Days Are Over

Ryan continues to hold the title of Rangers CEO, but his role is in question
The MLB Rangers indicate that they want CEO Nolan Ryan "to be involved and he can make all of the recommendations he desires but his decision-making days are over," according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. This comes on the heels of the promotions of President of Baseball Operations & GM Jon Daniels and President of Business Operations Rick George. The team's stance on Ryan leaves Daniels in "an awkward position." Daniels said he and Ryan "have been talking pretty much every day." Daniels: "But it's been baseball stuff. We haven't talked about the other thing. That's between Nolan and ownership." Nightengale writes the "sentiment among the Rangers is he will stay, at least for now," and there is "zero chance" of Ryan joining the Astros. If he "walks away now, everyone looks bad." Daniels: "The only real awkwardness is that this is just another thing that has taken the focus off the team" (USA TODAY, 3/12). ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote the baseball world is "watching this situation with some fascination, because Nolan Ryan is who he is -- a Hall of Fame pitcher whose participation in the ownership drive" for co-Chairs Ray Davis and Bob Simpson "was pivotal." Also, because Daniels is "regarded as one of the best at what he does, at the top of a front office that is viewed as being one of the most progressive and aggressive." Until Ryan "speaks and answers questions, none of us will know for sure what is the root of the conflict." It is "no secret that the heavy lifting has been done by Daniels and his staff, in the shaping of options, external and internal." But Ryan is "bigger than Daniels or Davis or Simpson." Olney: "Only Nolan Ryan is big enough to take out Nolan Ryan in Texas" (ESPN.com, 3/12).

STILL WAITING: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote of the uncertainty surrounding Ryan's role with the Rangers, "The whole thing, up to and including the press releases, is uncomfortable, awkward and sad." If Ryan leaves, the "blood will be on" Simpson and Davis’ hands. No matter "how much soap he uses, there will be some splatter on GM Jon Daniels’ mitts as well" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/12). 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 "makes the Rangers better" because he makes Daniels, Assistant GM Thad Levine and Senior Dir of Player Personnel AJ Preller "view decisions from a different perspective" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 3/11). Rangers P Derek Holland said, "Nolan, to me, is an important part of this team. He interacts with pitchers. He talks to us. We get information from him. He’s one of those guys that you want to keep around. He’s Nolan Ryan, how could you not?” ("Fitzsimmons & Durrett," ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas, 3/11).
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