What About Nolan?
Sure, Nolan did some good things while he was here, but he didn’t do anything that helped make the Rangers World Series contenders for 5 years. And he hasn’t done anything with the Astros either. For Houston, he is literally a figurehead and just helps his son out at times with advice. He has absolutely nothing to do with the plethora of talent that Houston has that’s in the big leagues from all their years of being horrible.
Nolan Ryan joined the Rangers front office in February of 2008. Let’s take a look at some of the players that we had in 2011 when we were a strike away from winning the World Series that some people argue us going to was “all Nolan”…
C-Mike Napoli acquired prior to 2011 season. This deal could be Nolan, could be JD. More than likely JD since the GM is the guy that does the trading.
1B-Mitch Moreland, drafted in 2007. JD guy.
2B-Ian Kinsler, drafted in 2003. Neither JD nor Nolan.
3B-Adrian Beltre, signed in 2011 offseason. Probably something similar to Napoli deal, but Nolan is a legend and with the team could definitely give Beltre more of a reason to come here.
SS-Elvis Andrus, the crowned jewel of JD’s Mark Teixeira trade.
LF-David Murphy, acquired via trade in 2007.
CF-Josh Hamilton, acquired via trade in December of 2007.
RF-Nelson Cruz acquired in 2006.
DH-Michael Young, pre-Nolan and JD.
SP1-C.J. Wilson, pre-Nolan and JD.
SP2-Matt Harrison, part of Elvis trade.
SP3-Colby Lewis, Tony Barnette-like signing.
SP4-Derek Holland, 2006 draft pick.
SP5-Alexi Ogando, December of 2005 rule 5 pick.
Closer-Neftali Feliz, part of Elvis trade.
By my count, of the 15 key players listed above, only 3 of them (Lewis, Beltre, and Napoli) were even acquired after Nolan came over to Texas. And Napoli was a trade. The odds of Lewis and Beltre both coming here purely because of Nolan are low, as-is, but I guess we can throw Nolan a bone and say he brought Beltre here (still unlikely).
With all this being said, is Nolan Ryan really the reason for the success of the Texas Rangers from the time he was here, or was it just a coincidence that the Rangers, like the Astros, have all of these players up in the majors that Daniels worked to acquire and draft before the Nolan era? Seems like he just showed up at the right time for both teams.