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Nolan Ryan could be reuniting with the Houston Astros

Jan 22, 2014, 6:58 AM EDT

Image (1) nolan%20ryan%20cowboy.jpg for post 4678

Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston reports that there’s mutual interest between Nolan Ryan and the Houston Astros in having Ryan return to the Astros in some executive capacity or another.

What that role would be is unclear, and the sides have not even discussed the matter yet. But Berman quotes Ryan as being amenable to coming back to Houston, where his son Reid is president of business operations. Astros owner Jim Crane likewise says that he would like to bring Nolan Ryan back if he could. He said he’s hoping to talk to Ryan soon.

One interesting comment from Crane involves seeing how a pairing would work “with the business-side and the baseball-side.” While it’s hard to tell exactly what led to Ryan leaving the Rangers, there were frequent reports in recent years that it involved clashes with Jon Daniels’ people on the baseball side of things. Speculation existed — and was often colorfully vented — that Daniels’ sabermetrcially-oriented team clashed with an older school Ryan.

If there is any truth to that dynamic — and again, it could just be some journalists’ axe-grinding with Daniels — it would be hard to see how Ryan would fit on the baseball operations side of things in Houston, as Jeff Luhnow has assembled a young and analytic-heavy baseball operations team of his own. Of course, given that Reid Ryan is on the business side, it would make sense that Nolan Ryan would be on that side of things as well, working with or for his son.

  1. stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Seems likely that it is a heavily PR-laden move. Two angles really seem to push it from my point of view. One is that the Astros have a woefully bad image in the community right now. The other is – c’mon! That’s his kid in the CEO job. What did you expect?

    I think that Nolan is not terribly useful in a baseball organization if he doesn’t happen to be throwing baseballs. But from a public appearance side he can probably buy some good will. And they need it. The other hope I have is that the Round Rock AAA franchise (owned by the Ryans) will migrate back into the Astros’ organization. That would be valuable.

    • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      You think he’ll be bringing his lil’ mass murdering war criminal buddy to the games with him again?

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 9:27 AM

        Nah. Remember, W used to be a part owner of the Rangers. He would have been there anyway. Besides, he hangs around Dallas. Now he may start hanging around with HW. HW has had Astros season tickets since forever. But he is not in such good health these days.

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Yes, even as his masterpiece, his war of lies and corruption in Iraq, is really coming unglued….

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        No, the Bush that is in poor health is HW. W will probably outlive us.

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        I had read somewhere that Shrub was also unwell, probably on a tabloid cover as it slimed me on the way out of Publix with the ingredients for my world famous raspberry cheesecake.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        He had a cardiac procedure for an artery that wanted to shut down, but I gather he is fine now. (healthwise)

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        I don’t understand why he didn’t just let it shut down. According to the same philosophy that guided his shutdown of agricultural inspection stations, I would think that having to maintain one fewer artery would be more economical for him.

      • metalhead65 - Jan 22, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        iraq is coming unglued thanks to your buddy obummer. he is the one that told terrorists when would pull out so they simply waited until we were gone to make a new push to take over. are you and your tree hugging liberal friends ever going to stop blaming W for everything that is wrong in this country and the world? your buddy obummer has been in office how long? he can’t deliver on any of his promises so he keeps blaming Bush. but even the morons who voted for him twice are starting to see him for what he is and that is lying phony socialist. oh wait he did deliver on 1 and that would be the disaster that is obama care, how is that working out so far?

    • raysfan1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      If both Ryans work for the Astros, I’d think they could swap affiliations between the OKC Redhawks and the Round Rock Express. It’d make some sense too in that there are definitely more Rangers fans in OKC than Astros. Regardless, it’s a very nice downtown park here in OKC; definitely worth your visit if you find yourself in the vicinity.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        I have heard it is a nice park, but I have not been to OKC in a while. The Astros are negotiating to keep that affiliation, but they are simultaneously looking at a new franchise in the Woodlands. But the way I see it, the real marketing battle in Texas will be for the San Antonio/Austin area. Round Rock is the key to that one.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 10:38 AM

        I can see that. I-35 traffic between SA and Austin was so awful when I lived in SA that I never went to any games in Round Rock. Certainly both teams want to call SA their territory though.

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        Never went to the stadium either. Just got up early on Sunday morning and lined up for the donuts and kalisches in Round Rock, and waited for the nice man with the two way radio to come by and take my order.

      • hk62 - Jan 22, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Crane wants an Astros owned AAA team that plays in close proximity to Houston. Buying the NO Zyphers and moving them but staying in the PCL is a very real possibility, just might take longer than he wants it to. That could mean OKC lining up with the Marlins. The Rangers-Round Rock-Frisco connection prints money, and Nolan isn’t known to screw up business just because of a social situation.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        A Marlins connection for OKC? Now I feel a little sick.

    • sportlord - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      I too wish they would bring back the Round Rock franchise the Astros built up.

  2. mmurphf - Jan 22, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    The business side to Nolan is moving in on the hot dog concession. I nor anyone I know has any idea why ownership abandon Nolan in Arlington. I suspect Nolan will be darn careful before he takes a position in any MLB organization. You know the old “Fool me once shame on me………”

    Personally, I think the Rangers implode this season and JD and his buddies are ridden out of Arlington on one of Nolan’s bulls!

    • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      IDK. Ryan had a personal services contract with Houston before he went with the Rangers. I think that, for some reason, there was bad blood between him and the old Astros management. Hard to understand, because they were not the same ones that offended him back in the ’80’s when he ditched them for the Rangers as a player. But with Crane saying he wants him and his son as CEO, I don’t see it as too much of a risk for him.

    • paperlions - Jan 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Nolan never had much say over the baseball operations in Texas. The development of that system and talent acquisition was 100% Daniels and company. Feel free to identify anything at all that Ryan did with respect to scouting, drafting, signing of international free agents, or….well…anything. He was a fantastic player and the media drools all over him in an never ending love-fest, giving him far too much credit for anything good that ever happened with that team.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        Agreed on that one, Paper.

      • chinmusic1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Hey idiot, Nolan had FINAL say over BASEBALL operations from the time Hicks hired him until he was unceremoniously stripped of his power in November 2012. You have NO IDEA how much he contributed behind the scenes, but NOLAN RYAN had final say over BASEBALL decisions, which INCLUDED anything presented by JD and his staff. While JD may deserve the lion’s share of credit for the Rangers’ WS runs, to say that Nolan did not contribute to the WS runs is ASININE. In fact, perhaps the most crucial aspect of the team’s improvement – their pitching – that resulted in their franchise best success – can be greatly attributed to Mike Maddux, the Rangers’ pitching coach. Mike Maddux is a NOLAN RYAN hire and Nolan is the main reason Maddux came to Texas. That credit goes to NOLAN RYAN. The FACTS are – with Nolan Ryan having final say over BASEBALL decisions (2008-2012) – the Rangers made the playoffs in 3 out of 5 seasons. The FACTS are – with JD having final say over BASEBALL decisions (2006-2007, 2013) – the Rangers made the playoffs in 0 out of 3 seasons. We know there is much more to it than that, BUT THOSE ARE THE FACTS.

      • paperlions - Jan 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        Uh huh….as if having final say has anything to do with actually making the decision.

        There is a reason Ryan was shown the door. But hey, thanks for regurgitating all of the frothing love for Ryan that ignores his lack of involvement in personnel, development, or anything else of tangible effect.

        All of his spouting off about pitchers resulted in not changes whatso ever to how the Ranger’s staff worked. They didn’t throw more pitches, or more innings….they just had more talent…and he had nothing to do with acquiring it.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        If the Rangers had thought Ryan was that valuable to their baseball side, he would still be there.

      • paperlions - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        The “final say” argument is funny though. Bill DeWitt has “final say” over all Cardinal baseball moves. He should get a lot of credit for the current state of the organization, but not because of his “final say”, rather, because he was smart enough to hire good baseball people and get out of their way. His “say” involves them telling him what they want to do and why and him saying okay.

      • chinmusic1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM


        Paper says “as if having final say has anything to do with actually making the decision.”

        Having final say – you know – (yes you can make that trade or no you cannot make that trade – or – go ahead and INCLUDE Smoak to win the Cliff Lee sweepstakes) – has EVERYTHING to do with actually making the decision.

        You have no idea, nor do I, of exactly how much Ryan contributed to the thought process in personnel decisions. Your “lack of involvement” is your own conjecture and speculation. I choose to believe that he was MUCH more involved than you or others care to give him credit for. Neither of us can prove our points conclusively. What is not in question are the FACTS which I’ve previously addressed.

      • paperlions - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        Plenty of people know how involved he was, and there is a reason that no one was surprised that he was pushed out and that no one rushed to hire him. Again, the “final say” thing is silly. Bill DeWitt has “final say” over all Cardinal decisions. They tell him what they want to do and why and he says okay. Ryan was not involved in the day-to-day of the baseball personnel aspect of things.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        Chin, your argument is post hoc ergo propter hoc. Since Daniels was there the same time as Ryan, you can’t distinguish who made the good choices.

        Why do you suppose Ryan was taken out of the positions he was in? Some kind of “Game of Thrones” coup?

      • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        I’ve read the Post but I never did fly in an ergopropter. I have had some minimal experience in a Helicobacter, though.

      • chinmusic1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        stex52 – you said “you cant distinguish who made the good choices.”

        Exactly. So why say he had no input at all? That cannot be proven.

        Why do I think Ryan was stripped of his power? Because JD pulled a power play behind his back with Ray Davis.

        Nolan had been advised previously to fire JD, yet he chose to stand behind him and support him. I do not think Nolan thought for a second that JD would betray him and stab him in the back.

        I am actually a fan of JD, but I am disappointed in how this whole thing played out. Nolan would have eventually retired anyway and JD would have inherited the power he was given prematurely. The power grab was not necessary.

        Winning solves everything. If JD helps to finally bring a WS championship to Texas, he will be legendary for all the right reasons. If he fails, he will be vilified and legendary for having run Nolan Ryan out of town. I’ll be watching.

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Not me. I don’t like to ride in helicobactors, it upsets my stomach. (har har har)

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        But chin, that is my point, too. You can’t choose to believe it was Nolan because of the association by years.

        To my mind Daniels is the more likely choice as the guy who delivered. I argue by inference. If ownership thought Ryan was the indispensable piece, he would still be there. He was more a good face to put on the franchise, plus he brought two minor league franchises with him that the Rangers wanted. When the big deals went down, Daniels was always identified as the main actor.

        We don’t know all the back room stuff, but Rangers’ ownership had no problems figuring which way to go when they made a choice.

      • paperlions - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        There is also the fact that there are a lot of writers, analysts, and scouts that provide public content that have working in MLB or that have contacts throughout MLB, regularly talking to FO people (including Daniels), and they universally consider Daniels to be a very good GM. When Ryan was pushed aside and then out, that community said it wouldn’t affect anything because Ryan’s involvement had been greatly over-stated by the MSM.

      • chinmusic1 - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        stex – I don’t believe it was all Nolan. In my first comment I stated that JD deserved the lion’s share of the credit. My problem is with folks who think that Nolan deserves no credit. I simply point out the FACT of who had final say in the Rangers’ playoff years as a way to rile up the JD fan boys. As I stated, I know there is much more to it than who had the final say, but nevertheless – the statement is still factual. :-)

      • stex52 - Jan 22, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Fair enough, chin. I’m not Ryan’s biggest fan. He is thin-skinned, and it wouldn’t surprise me if all this “new-fangled” statistics stuff was a bit much for him. It probably was a bit difficult to take directions from someone who never played at a high level. It may have just been a bad personality clash. I can’t say for sure. But there is no doubt which way the organization wanted to go.

  3. braxtonrob - Jan 23, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    Who didn’t see that one comin’.

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