Ryan’s Departure from Rangers Clears Way for Daniels to get Full Credit or Blame

Posted on October 20th, by Rob Scichili in All, MLB, Texas Rangers. No Comments

nolanNolan Ryan has always done things on his terms. Thursday afternoon, he did it again.

Ryan either resigned or retired as CEO of the Texas Rangers, depending on where you get your information. It really doesn’t matter; he’s gone, and make no mistake – this was his call.

It’s not the biggest secret in baseball that there was some level of power struggle present in the front office between Ryan and Jon Daniels, going on for at least the past year. How large did that struggle grow? Who knows?

Ryan said all of the right things at the press conference, giving thanks to the fans, ownership and the staff. He said his relationship with Daniels had nothing to do with this decision. Ryan claims he wants to spend more time with his family.

Fair enough.

But Ryan did not rule out getting back in baseball in some capacity. The only thing he says he won’t do is take on another CEO ronolan-ryan-046b761f543dbbeble with a club. That’s not a surprise.

Ryan’s management skills and decision-making has always centered around feel, relationships and character. Daniels is known to rely more heavily on research, numbers and scouting reports. Both men have made solid decisions for the Texas Rangers, but at some point, one of them had to have final say on things.

That power migrated to Daniels over the last few years, leaving Ryan as no more than a figurehead. Several decisions at season’s end, including the firing of bench coach Jackie Moore (a close friend of Ryan’s), made it crystal clear that this was Daniels’ team.

Ryan most likely had been leaning towards leaving before the Moore firing. When Ryan couldn’t save Moore’s job, it probably expedited things.

So where does that leave the Rangers? Well, it puts more pressure on Daniels to get this team back to the playoffs; the blame or credit will fall squarely on his shoulders for what happens in 2014. Of course Daniels has Ron Washington as a possible scapegoat for a subpar 2014, but the truth is that this team faltered this past season due to lack of offensive personnel. The players never quit on Washington; you don’t reel off seven consecutive wins to end the season otherwise.

Don’t expect Ryan to simply stay on his ranch and spend time with wife Ruth and family. I fully expect him to land with another team, or even the league office in some capacity. Ryan immediately sold his minority shares with the Rangers, an indication that he is keeping all options open for other jobs in baseball. My money is on the Houston Astros with a title of “special advisor” or something of that nature, working closely with his son, Reid.

Ryan was hired as president of the Rangers in 2008. This team made significant strides on his watch, including two American League pennants. While Daniels deserves due credit for the successes as well, make no mistake that Ryan had a huge role, and dare I say they never make it to a World Series without him.

Rangers fans should feel good and bad right now – thankful for Ryan’s service and fearful for where this team might go without him. This is not to say that Jon Daniels cannot lead this team to a championship and more success. But now we’ll know who to credit and who to blame.

Rob Scichili

Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.

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