What started as (what seemed like) a minor comment by Randy Galloway over the radio has turned into (what is now) a major situation, and now we’re wondering how many days Nolan Ryan has left as the chief executive officer of the Texas Rangers.
But let’s back up.
A week ago when Jon Daniels was promoted to the President Of Baseball Operations, and Rick George promoted to head of business operations, I didn’t think twice about it. I was happy, internally, that it meant Daniels is essentially married to the organization longterm, but I didn’t infer anything nefarious to be taking place behind the scenes. He’s always said the right things to the media, 100% of the time deflecting credit to Nolan and ownership, or the scouts, or Ron Washington, or the players. Nolan Ryan, to his credit, takes the same approach with the media. (As does Ron Washington.) The upper levels of management, for the most part, have acted as a cohesive unit since the marriage of Daniels & Co., Nolan Ryan, and majority owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis became the men in power.
And they have been comfortable letting the on-field results speak for themselves.
Now we’re here, just a week later, and the saga of Will He Stay Or Will He Go has reached its climax. If you ask Mike Hindman, Nolan Ryan has already made his decision. Hindman breaks down the situation both poetically and systematically:
Ryan brought the right management team together with the right ownership group, and what we have learned this week is that:
1) The current ownership is committed to keeping not only Daniels, but his entire team here for as long as possible because they know that these young men have created a valuable, sustainable asset; and
2) The current ownership has correctly identified that Daniels & Co. and the work that they do is creating more value for them than whatever nebulous symbolic value Ryan brings to the table.
Whether Ryan stays or goes, it will make little difference structurally or functionally to the Rangers organization going forward, but that is not to say that he has not been immensely valuable in the past.
Ryan hasn’t spoken yet, but by not speaking it is clear that he is now rejecting the role of CEO. I won’t pretend to know why he is rejecting it, but I do know that he is rejecting it.
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I’ve written it a couple times this week: whichever way you slice it, Jon Daniels is more valuable to the Rangers than Nolan Ryan. That’s not to take anything away from Ryan, but he did indeed arrive to Texas at the right time. Jon Daniels, despite a few sour trades at the beginning of his tenure, has long had the wheels in motion to make the Rangers a dominant Major League franchise. Yet without Nolan Ryan gathering investors as capable as Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, we very likely would be closer to the 2008 payroll of just over $60 million than the $130 million-ish budget it is today. So, in fairness, you have to give credit both ways.
With that said, any major business operation unfolds in the same type of way. You want to pay cheaper for common commodities than for rare commodities. It’s supply and demand. Bob Simpson and Ray Davis — the two majority owners — have recognized it’s a lot easier to replace the older, less valuable Nolan Ryan than the younger, more valuable Daniels & Co. Was ticking off Nolan Ryan their intention with these promotions? No, I don’t think so. But since this nuisance of a situation went down in the fashion it inevitably has, I doubt they are losing much sleep.
It’s the same phenomena you see when Major League veterans get older and more expensive, and the organization has top prospects looking to earn a spot who financially command the league minimum. It’s smart business.
In the end, I still don’t see why Nolan is acting like this. My current perception of him is that of a selfish, petulant child who isn’t getting his way. Although he’s been the team president for the last 5 years, Jon Daniels has basically assumed the decision-making role, so Ryan is essentially griping over a title? I just don’t get it.
Perhaps we’ll see some resolution out of this fairly soon, though, because we’ve yet to hear anything from Ryan himself on the matter, I tend to agree with Mike Hindman that he will be leaving the organization.
When? I’m not sure. That seems to be the only thing that remains in question.