Nolan Ryan (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Over the past few years, the Houston Astros’ front office has been a mess. Jeff Luhnow and his merry band of baseball men have turned around the player personnel side of it, but until Reid Ryan came aboard at the start of last season, the business side of the organization needed some help.
The addition of Ryan certainly helped to move things in the right direction. Of course the situation will never be considered fixed until the Astros games are available on TV to all fans and their record starts moving in the right direction. But at least, we are starting to see some progress.
When word came down that Nolan Ryan‘s relationship with the Texas Rangers had ended, speculation immediately began regarding his return to Houston. Ryan met with Jim Crane a few weeks ago, and today it was announced that Ryan will be joining the Astros as a special assistant to Crane.
After helping to turn around the Texas Rangers, Ryan will now be teaming up with his son as he supports Reid Ryan, Luhnow, and Crane. I don’t think Nolan Ryan would come aboard to join Reid if he didn’t believe in the path the Astros are on and their future.
While the recent past has been very trying for Astros fans, I think we can feel confident that things are moving in the right direction. And Nolan Ryan will play a large part in that going forward.
"“I visited with Jim, Jeff and Reid on several occasions,” Ryan, 67, said. “I think they all made me feel like they would like to have me work for them. They appreciate the experience and knowledge that I’ve gained over the course of my life in baseball. They value that and feel there’s a need.“The fact that I feel appreciated and feel wanted certainly played a big role in that. And I’m having the opportunity to help Reid in any way I can.”"
What also seems clear, is that Nolan Ryan’s role with the Astros will not merely be ceremonial. He is here to do work, and help Houston get back to prominence. But what also seems clear, is that Luhnow will not be losing any authority on the baseball side. And that is a good thing.
"Astros owner Jim Crane has said he will personally ensure his lieutenants are coordinated. On Tuesday, general manager Jeff Luhnow seemed to throw water on the fire before one could even begin.“It’s very difficult to comment on something that you weren’t a part of, so I’ll refrain from doing that,” Luhnow said of Ryan’s exit from the Rangers. “But we have a good thing going here. We’ve got clear direction. Everybody’s got their own area of responsibility. Everybody knows their role, and we’re all shooting toward the same goal, and I think Nolan understands that.“We’ve had multiple conversations with him. He completely buys into our strategy. He understands what everybody’s role is. He’s here to help. I don’t see how can that end up going off the rails. I think it’s a good situation. I think it’s a good situation where we’re going to leverage his expertise.”Ryan will be much more than a roving pitching coach.He can bring an outside perspective to evaluations, both in the majors and the minors. That might be on an individual player’s ability, or it could be broader, looking at what programs are working and which aren’t. He’ll attend spring training and he’ll go to minor league games as well as visit the big league clubhouse."