We finally got some word from Nolan Ryan on Sunday after hearing nothing from the Hall of Famer since the news release went out 10 days ago announcing promotions for general manager Jon Daniels (to president of baseball operations) and COO Rick George (to president of business operations). But what he said in a statement released by the club didn't seem to get things closer to a resolution about whether he stays with the club into the future.
For now, at least, Ryan is in Arizona and remains the club's CEO. But whether that title carries enough of a role to keep him in the Rangers organization long term remains to be seen. His statement:
"Over the last week, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and I have been in discussion and met in-person. The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward. I am very proud of what the Rangers have accomplished over the last several years, and I believe our preparations for upcoming season are what is important."
The fact that Davis and Simpson -- co-chairman of the board -- will "continue" to talk about Ryan's role as "we go forward" is at least something to give Rangers fans hope that Ryan could stay. At the very least, it gives Simpson and Davis more time to attempt to persuade Ryan to remain with the organization.
It's clear they are trying. ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Randy Galloway reported that Simpson had dinner with Ryan on Friday night at Del Frisco's Steakhouse in Fort Worth. That's progress. Davis spoke to Ryan that day, too, and then Ryan flew back to Surprise, Ariz., on Saturday. The fact that Ryan flew back to spring training has to be taken as a decent sign. It's not as if the dinner scared him off directly.
But Ryan didn't race back to Arizona and say things were fine, either. He's taking more time and is open to more talks. Simpson and Davis -- and others -- need to continue those talks. Whether it's over steak, Mexican food or while watching a spring training game, they need to be doing what they can to convince Ryan to stay. The question is, as it has been during this 10-day saga, what is Ryan's role now and is it influential enough that he wants to stay?
Ownership has to be on the ones to explain the role and sell Ryan on staying. It sure seems like Ryan needs more convincing. How much time is left? A Star-Telegram report says Ryan has commitments in San Antonio at the end of March and in Houston to start the season. That's about three weeks for ownership to twist Ryan's Hall of Fame arm.