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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nolan Ryan returns to Astros front office

The Ryan Express has landed back in Houston. The legendary Nolan Ryan has agreed to accept a position as a special assistant to Astros owner Jim Crane.

Although his duties aren’t nearly as demanding as they were with the Rangers from February 2008 until last October, Ryan’s return to the Astros is more intimate and personal because it provides the Hall of Famer an opportunity to help his eldest son rebuild the club.

“It would be a special and totally different than I have dealt with before because it’s on the major league level and an organization that Reid’s president of,” Nolan Ryan said late last month. “And if I could assist him in some way it would be fun and challenging.”

Jon Daniels plans to replace Ryan with two 8-7 CEO’s.

Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: February 11, 2014 at 06:21 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, nolan ryan, rangers

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   1. base ball chick Posted: February 11, 2014 at 11:32 PM (#4655250)
amusement

i see that someone else thinks nolan gonna be content with being a "face" when he wants to be tyrant

won't be real too long before nolan tryin to run jeff luhnow and gang

hehhehheh

dont nevah invite a hedgehog into your den
   2. bjhanke Posted: February 12, 2014 at 12:40 AM (#4655271)
I thought that Ryan would be a lousy GM, partially because he seemed so retrograde on using modern analysis. But the Rangers were pretty good when he was running them, weren't they? - Brock Hanke
   3. Walt Davis Posted: February 12, 2014 at 01:38 AM (#4655289)
He wasn't the GM Brock, he was the CEO. He kinda got shoved out by the GM (who added pres of baseball operations to his titles ... and they hired a pres of business operations ... so there was nothing left for Ryan to do).
   4. John Northey Posted: February 12, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4655322)
It'll be interesting to watch the two Texas teams over the next few years. If Houston improves and the Rangers drop how much of it will be due to Ryan and how much just the old 'Houston had to get better, Rangers worse' due to where each was in the success cycle. I mean, how much worse can it get in Houston after 3 years of 105+ losses (and getting worse each year even...not an easy thing to do).
   5. bjhanke Posted: February 12, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4655324)
Walt - Thanks for the correction. I apparently got the story wrong when it first came out that Nolan Ryan was going front office anything. The only thing I remember was that he was going to be the GM. OK, that was wrong. Need to re-think that. I have no idea how influential he was as CEO, but it's not like the Rangers collapsed due to ignoring sabermetrics. If anything they flourished. Who managed to do that, and how, is not nearly as clear to me as it was when I thought that Ryan, who had publicly sneered at sabermetrics, was the GM - Brock
   6. BDC Posted: February 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4655347)
Nobody has any quantitative idea of how much Ryan helped the Rangers succeed, or whether their pennants while he was team president were sheer coincidence. DFW media reports are that the pitching staff truly admired him, that he was a good mentor, that it helped to have him as a face of the franchise when the team was trying to sign players. The problem in sorting out credit is that his term here was the same as Mike Maddux's, about whom you can say all the same things, and who certainly worked more directly with the staff.
   7. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4655348)
I believe the Rangers did start the run they're on after Ryan got involved but of course there's no way of knowing how much was him and how much was Daniels just improving as a GM and having his plans come together.
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 12, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4655451)
won't be real too long before nolan tryin to run jeff luhnow and gang


Not a good trade-off for Houston, IMO. Luhnow's doing a pretty good job rebuilding so far - I'd hate to see Ryan blow that up.
   9. Joe Kehoskie Posted: February 12, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4655623)
Not a good trade-off for Houston, IMO. Luhnow's doing a pretty good job rebuilding so far - I'd hate to see Ryan blow that up.

I'm not saying I'd take Ryan over Luhnow, as I don't know either, but what is there for Ryan to "blow up"? The Astros have put putrid teams on the field for 3-4 years, racked up high draft picks, and signed them. A person with an average or better baseball IQ and a subscription to Baseball America could have drafted the Astros' farm system into where it is today.

Meanwhile, there still isn't a single impact-caliber player on the Astros' ML roster, and none of us — except for Mike Fast, whose opinion is highly subjective — knows what the Astros are doing behind the scenes when it comes to innovation, of which precious little has become publicly apparent thus far, with the Crane/Luhnow era now entering its third year.
   10. base ball chick Posted: February 12, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4655686)
the players who won with the rangers were ALREADY there when nolan ryan arrived - jon daniels had ALREADY done all the work

who knows what he did or did not actually DO with the pitchers, but he certainly did not have day t day interaction and help. nolan had Ideers about How Things Should Be and how pitchers should be like him.

he was supposed to be in the business dept but he wanted to run the players part too and finally it was a war between him and jon daniels - after he forced greenberg out - and he lost

nolan had said more than a few times that one of the reasons he left the astros in the first place was that drayton mclane wouldn't do what he (nolan ryan) wanted to do

the astros have ALREADY gotten all kinds of minor leaguers and are stocked and am not real too sure how nolan could reasonably claim credit for the people already here, but that is what he did in texas
   11. Jose Molina wants a nickname like ARod Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4656035)
I'm not saying I'd take Ryan over Luhnow, as I don't know either, but what is there for Ryan to "blow up"?


He could go all Tommy Lasorda/Omar Minyana on the farm system.

   12. Drexl Spivey Posted: February 13, 2014 at 07:37 AM (#4656091)
A person with an average or better baseball IQ and a subscription to Baseball America could have drafted the Astros' farm system into where it is today.


No, that person would have drafted Buxton. Luhnow will be vilified if Buxton becomes a superstar.

My guess is that Nolan Ryan wants to become the MLB version of John Elway (Elway became the GM of the Broncos earlier this week).
   13. Tricky Dick Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4656249)
For what it's worth, Luhnow says that Ryan supports his approach and direction. Based on what I've heard about the way Luhnow makes decisions, I could envision Ryan being a voice in the room who adds input to decisions. We hear that Luhnow likes to hear the arguments on all sides of a significant decision. Or maybe this move is more public relations oriented, with Ryan as more of a figurehead, who may occasionally meet with free agents, scout players, and appear in spring training for a few days. We really don't know at this point.

Looking at Ryan's Rangers role doesn't seem all that useful. There are some different dynamics for his role with the Astros. First, he is in "retirement" and presumably wanted to spend more time on the ranch, etc. Second, his son is the President, with primary responsibilities for the business side. I would think that Nolan will have some sensitivity to the fact this is his son's ship, so to speak. I'm sure he will give input to his son, but I doubt that he would want a role where he is taking away credit from his son. Third, Ryan isn't a major part of ownership, like he was in the Rangers' organization. That brings up the interesting dynamic of Crane's relationship with Ryan. Crane was competing with Ryan for ownership of the Rangers during a contentious bankruptcy proceeding. Maybe it speaks well for both Crane and Ryan that they don't let any lingering animosity affect Ryan joining the Astros.
   14. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 16, 2014 at 07:17 AM (#4657546)
Or maybe this move is more public relations oriented, with Ryan as more of a figurehead, who may occasionally meet with free agents, scout players, and appear in spring training for a few days. We really don't know at this point.

This. Ryan may be the Elway of Texas (or is it the other way around?) but he was unemployed and thus didn't have much leverage in these negotiations.

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