Despite repeated hints that he wasn’t going to do this, Houston’s favorite pitcher and the best thing ever to happen to the Texas Rangers is likely to meet with that other Texas team about a job: The Houston Astros think they can land Nolan once again as a free agent, this time as an executive.According to the above link and written by Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, Astros owner Jim Crane said he hopes to meet with Ryan “pretty soon” about a job with the team.If you did not think the new rivalry between the AL West members had any teeth, wait ‘til Nolan comes to the Ballpark with the Astros. Note to Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson — you better pray you win a World Series before the Astros.Not even the number-loving JD backers could save your hide on this one.Ryan’s son, Reid, is the team’s president of baseball operations. Despite Nolan’s original intention of letting Reid do his own thing, perhaps the chance to work with his son, as well as the opportunity to help rebuild another Texas pro baseball club, is too great to ignore.You might remember Nolan had some success with the Texas Rangers as an executive, but his time ended with the club last year when owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis agreed to show Mr. Ryan the door in a power struggle.Ryan is 66, and never said he was retiring. And no one thinks Nolan is going to live outside of this state.“I think there’s some interest from Nolan if it’s the right opportunity,” Crane told the Houston Chronicle.The Astros were 51-111 in 2013, but do have a stocked minor league system and one of the lowest payrolls in the sport. If Crane will spend money — and it’s doubtful Nolan would take the job to help run the Miami Marlins of Texas — the Astros are all set to win in a year or so.Which, for the Rangers, would be eclipsed only by Game 6.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @macengelprof