MLB Franchise Notes: Nolan Ryan Hiring Could Spice Up Astros-Rangers Rivalry
In Dallas, Gerry Fraley reports Baseball HOFer Nolan Ryan yesterday joined the Astros as Exec Adviser, "four months after walking away from his watered-down position" with the Rangers. The Astros' addition of Ryan is "spicing up what has been a drab intrastate 'rivalry'" between the two clubs (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/12). In Houston, Randy Harvey writes one "can assume Ryan's relationship" with Astros Owner Jim Crane will "go smoothly because ... Crane hired him," and it should "go well" with President of Baseball Operations Reid Ryan, Nolan's son. However, observers do "have to wonder how it might play out in the front offices at Minute Maid Park" when GM Jeff Luhnow takes a baseball proposition to Crane and Ryan "advises against it" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/12). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton writes under the header, "Rangers Fans Need To Get Over The Nolan News." Baseball in Texas is a "better world with Nolan Ryan in it" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/12).
ROYAL TREATMENT: Royals GM Dayton Moore said that the club’s payroll "should surpass" $90M in '14, about a $9M increase from last season’s "record-breaking Opening Day amount and a sum that exceeded their budget for this season." Moore declined to "provide the specifics on the initial payroll goal, but he referred to this season as a 'gamble.'” Moore said, “I know what our break-even point is. We’re beyond that at this point in time. Hopefully we have a great year, and we’re able to create a lot of interest with this team, and people show up at the ballpark. And hopefully the gamble pays off economically" (K.C. STAR, 2/11).
WIN HAL STEINBRENNER'S MONEY: Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner yesterday said there was no concern about team payroll blowing past MLB’s luxury tax threshold this year of $189M. P Masahiro Tanaka signed a seven-year, $155M contract, and the Yankees are now beyond $200M in projected payroll for '14, extending the club's status as a repeat offender for exceeding the threshold. Steinbrenner: “We know what our fans expect: to field a championship team." GM Brian Cashman said of the Tanaka signing, “This is Yankee big. This is Steinbrenner big" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
CITIZENS ON PATROL: In Philadelphia, John George reported the Phillies this year are planning a "season-long celebration of Citizens Bank Park's 10th birthday." Fans beginning Feb. 18 can vote online for their "top moments" at the ballpark. At every Saturday home game leading up to alumni weekend in August, the team will pay tribute to the venue in a "series of promotions that will include the return of former Phillies players associated with the milestones." The team also has created a "commemorative yearbook, which will be available in April" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/11).