Nolan Ryan Ain't Riding in on a White Horse to Save the Astros
The Nolan Ryan crisis in Arlington is well in its second week. Thus the questions over his future with the Rangers, and his future in general, continue. But while it appears Ryan is losing the battle for power, it's just not known what role he will continue to serve in with the club.
Ryan issued a statement yesterday saying that he plans to continue with the Rangers for the time being. And that he will continue as CEO. But though he is staying with the team, he and his fellow owners are still trying to determine what, exactly, his role with the team will be in the future. It's not likely this statement will put to rest the rumors surrounding Ryan's future. Yet some of the rumors regarding Ryan's future can be easily laid to rest.
In short: Nolan Ryan is not coming back to the Houston Astros. No matter what uninformed writers in Dallas and Houston might think. Such a move makes no sense for the Astros. The Rangers letting such a move happen makes no sense for the Rangers. And such a move makes absolutely zero sense for Nolan Ryan.
There are a few basic, very simple facts that the people arguing the Astros should hire Ryan are forgetting. First and foremost is the fact that Nolan Ryan is one of the Rangers' owners. While Ryan may step away from his management role with the team, he's not stepping away from his role as an owner. A part-owner of one team just can't take up an employment position with another team. MLB wouldn't allow this to happen. And the Rangers wouldn't allow this to happen.
And the one thing that has yet to be mentioned in all of the Ryan-departing-from-the-Rangers stories is Ryan putting his share of the ball club up for sale. It's possible he's doing this, and that could be why he's maintained media silence, that he's trying to work out a deal to sell his shares. But even if Ryan sells his shares in the Rangers, he's not coming to work for the Astros, because it makes no sense.
A quick refresher. This has become a topic because Ryan is losing a power battle with GM Jon Daniels and Ryan's fellow owners. And now many people who should know better are stating that Ryan should come work for the Astros, where it's doubtful he will have any real power to do anything.
Ryan left the Astros to become president of the Rangers because Drayton McLane preferred to have Ryan as nothing more than a PR figurehead. McLane preferred to let Tal Smith have the power and make the decisions in Houston. So Ryan took the offered position with the Rangers. And from there he moved from team president to a member of the team ownership group who was essentially the CEO of the team.
Does anyone see that happening with the Astros?
Let's say Ryan sells his shares in the Rangers and goes about looking for something else to do. Why would he just be willing to be a PR figurehead with the Astros? He's already rejected that role once. There's nothing to indicate that Jim Crane is ready to jettison George Postolos. There's also nothing to indicate that Crane is willing to give up any of his power. And Ryan has been clashing with Daniels in Texas, which means he'd probably clash with GM Jeff Luhnow in Houston since both Daniels and Luhnow share some common approaches to building a baseball team.
But what if Ryan sells his stake with the Rangers and buys into the Astros? That could always be possible, especially since Crane and his ownership group would no doubt love a cash injection into the team. The problem, once again, is that there is nothing to indicate that Crane is going to relinquish his control of the baseball team.
There's also nothing out there indicating that Ryan would want to enter into an ownership group with Crane, especially after the bad blood caused by Crane coming in at the last minute and jacking up the price Ryan and his group had to pay to purchase the Rangers out of bankruptcy. And after what is happening to Ryan with the Rangers, there's definitely nothing to indicate that Ryan would want to buy into a baseball club where he is just one of many owners and one where he has to share power with an owner who is becoming known for stabbing people in the back.
Nolan Ryan is a Texas legend. He's also a Astros legend, and the so-called Astros fans that are angry with him for junking his PR role with the Astros to assume an actual position of control with the Rangers need to rethink a few things. But Ryan coming back to the Astros makes absolutely no sense for Ryan or for the Astros.
In a perfect world, McLane would have chosen Ryan instead of Tal Smith, and then Ryan would have purchased the Astros when McLane put them on the market. In another perfect world, the bid for the Rangers of Mark Cuban and Jim Crane would have been the one approved in bankruptcy, leaving Ryan free to form a group to purchase the Astros.
But this isn't a perfect world. Nolan Ryan's not riding in on a white horse to rescue the Houston Astros. And nothing that nobody writes is going to change that.