Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has been off the mound for over two decades, but he can't seem to stay away from the game of baseball.
The 67-year-old will now reunite with the Houston Astros in an advisory role, as first reported by Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:
http://t.co/MCrT7Pxynv confirms that Nolan Ryan returning to Astros in advisory role, says a source.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 11, 2014
McTaggart later confirmed the news and offered a quote from Ryan:
Astros have named Hall of Fame pitcher and former Astro Nolan Ryan as the club’s Executive Advisor.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 11, 2014
Ryan will serve as an advisor to Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and President of Business Operations Reid Ryan.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 11, 2014
“I’m very excited to be back with the Astros,” Ryan said in statement.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 11, 2014
Jose de Jesus Ortiz of The Houston Chronicle also confirmed the news and provided comments from Astros owner Jim Crane during an official announcement:
The Astros have officially announced Nolan's hiring. “We’re extremely pleased to have Nolan as part of our organization,” Jim Crane said.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) February 11, 2014
“We will use his experience, expertise and knowledge to improve the Astros in all areas," Crane said.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) February 11, 2014
Ryan chimed during the announcement and shared his thoughts on re-joining his old team, according to Ortiz:
“I’m very excited to be back with the Astros,” Nolan said. “I’m happy to assist Jim, Jeff (Luhnow) & Reid (Ryan) in any way I can."— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) February 11, 2014
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provides a little more information about the situation:
Source says that Nolan Ryan doesn't want an office in Houston or to live there, and plans only special assignments in new role with Astros.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) February 11, 2014
Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times notes the exact role as a special assistant that Ryan will take on, as well as another important note:
Ryan was the Texas Rangers President and CEO from 2008 through 2013. He retired from the role on Oct. 31, 2013, and said during his final press conference that he might not be out of the game for good, according to Richard Durrett of ESPN.com:
Will I be the CEO of another major league ballclub? No, I won't. But I'm not going to sit here today and tell you that I don't know what a year from now might bring. This might be the final chapter of my baseball career. If there was something else I did, it certainly wouldn't be in the role I had with the Rangers.
Though it may not be a popular decision with Rangers fans, Ortiz is excited to see Ryan back with his old team:
Big day for the Astros. The legendary Nolan Ryan is back in the fold, just where he belongs.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) February 11, 2014
While Ryan spent the twilight of his career with the Rangers and took on a huge role with the team, his best years were undoubtedly during his time in an Astros uniform.
During his nine years spent in Houston, Ryan compiled 106 wins in 282 games started, a 3.13 ERA, 13 shutouts and, most notably, 1,866 strikeouts.
The move is certainly an interesting one as the Astros just recently made the switch in 2013 to the American League East, the same division as the Rangers. Therefore, Ryan will be helping a team defeat the same franchise that he helped to turn around during his five years as the President and CEO.
Is this a good move for Ryan?
The most likely situation for Ryan is that he wants to help improve the Astros' pitching staff, and the team could certainly use his expertise. Scott Feldman (12-12, 3.86 ERA in 2013) and Brett Oberholtzer (4-5, 2.76 ERA in 2013) currently sit at the top of the rotation.
A young cast will be working their way through the minor leagues, including Mark Appel, the first overall pick in 2013, and possibly even N.C. State pitcher Carlos Rodon, who is projected to be the first overall pick in 2014.
Ryan has proven that he can turn around an entire franchise with the Rangers, helping lead them to two American League pennants, and he'll be expected to bring that same success to the Astros' pitching staff.
Only time will tell if the move pays off for the Astros, but it is great to see Ryan still in the sport of baseball.
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