Nolan Ryan has returned to Arizona, and most signs Saturday pointed to him not leaving the Texas Rangers.
The Hall of Fame pitcher and club CEO was back at Rangers spring training by mid-morning after meeting Friday with principal owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis in Texas to assure Ryan that his role is unchanged after promotions to executives Jon Daniels and Rick George.
A source said that a resolution that would keep Ryan with the team could be reached as early as Sunday. Another source said that the owners are hopeful that Ryan will remain despite sources saying much of last week that he was likely to leave.
Ryan met with Simpson and Davis for three hours after flying to the Metroplex on Friday afternoon, said a source, and then had dinner with Simpson at Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth.
Simpson called the meeting “positive.”
Though Ryan was back at the Surprise Recreation Campus, he did not address a situation that has lingered for more than a week since Daniels and George were promoted March 1, and Ryan began to wonder if he had the same authority he has had the past two years or if he would just be a figurehead.
Daniels was named the president of baseball operations/general manager while George was bumped from chief operating officer to president of baseball operations. Ryan, who was the team president and CEO, became simply the CEO.
Daniels and Simpson have maintained all along that nothing has changed in the structure of the front office, with Ryan continuing to have final say on all matters.
But Ryan’s silence, which Saturday reached its ninth day, suggests that he saw things differently.
Sources told the Star-Telegram last week that Ryan was so upset and unsure of his role that he was considering leaving his post after fulfilling two commitments: in San Antonio for the Rangers’ two exhibition games there March 29-30 and in Houston during the Rangers’ season-opening series.
His meeting Friday with Simpson and Davis might have helped set the record straight and could keep him in charge of the Rangers.