Report: Nolan Ryan possibly leaving Rangers

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Legendary pitcher turned CEO Nolan Ryan could be leaving the Texas Rangers, according to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram report that paints Ryan as the odd man out in a power shift atop the Rangers' organization.

It was announced over the weekend that general manager Jon Daniels was promoted to president of baseball operations/GM, and that Rick George, the club's chief operating officer, was named president of business operations. Ryan is still the team's CEO and is higher in the org chart, but it's the "power" chart that might have changed.

Sources told columnist Randy Galloway of the Star-Telegram that Daniels now has final say on all baseball decisions while George now makes all business decisions.

[Related: Pitcher cut before end of spring training game]

That leaves what exactly for Ryan, the strikeout king and the guy the common fan would point to as "The Man" in Rangers management? A face-of-the-franchise position? Shaking hands with high-profile season-ticket holders? Reminiscing about head-locking Robin Venutra with big-dollar sponsors?

In his column, Galloway maintains that Ryan, 66, could be leaving the team by the end of spring training. Ryan's not talking, but something tells us he's not the type of guy who wants to play powerless figurehead while the 35-year-old president/GM runs the show.

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Still, Bob Simpson, one of the guys who controls the Rangers' ownership group, says The Ryan Express isn't going anywhere:

“Nolan Ryan leaving the Rangers would be a tragedy, and something we don’t want to happen,” the Fort Worth-based Simpson said Sunday upon his return from the team’s spring training headquarters in Surprise, Ariz.

“We absolutely do not want Nolan to leave. The moves we announced [on Friday] were to preserve Nolan, not to remove him, or remove his power. We want Nolan to be with the Rangers forever, and in charge of the team as long as he wants to be.”

Now we wait and see. If Ryan exits, there could be another team in Texas – whose uniform he famously wore – that could be in need of his services. We speak, of course, about the rebuilding Houston Astros. Interestingly, the Astros and Rangers are now division rivals in the AL West.

This could get really interesting.

Spring training is here. Stretch out with us.
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