Ryan expects restrictions to be lifted

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan, on the brink of becoming a minority owner in the club, said Tuesday that Major League Baseball continues to oversee the organization, something it's done since July.

"We were required to have any expenditure that was not budgeted for had to be approved and also any signing outside of the slot limit had to be approved," Ryan said. "There were obviously some restrictions that other clubs weren't under."

Ryan said once the new ownership group takes place, with Ryan as club president and head of baseball operations and Chuck Greenberg as managing general partner and CEO, he expects those restrictions will be lifted.

"MLB did not want to affect the normal day-to-day operations," Ryan said. "It really did not encumber us to the point where we couldn't do anything. They realized we needed to run as usual as much as we possibly could."

Ryan said that MLB had to approve the Rangers' trade for Pudge Rodriguez in August and the above-slot money for first round draft pick Matt Purke. The money the Rangers offered for Purke wasn't enough to get the left-handed pitcher to sign. He will pitch for TCU this season.

Ryan is focused on 2010 and expects good things from his ballclub.

"My expectations today are that we're going to be extremely competitive and if we don't win our division, I'll be disappointed," Ryan said. "We've positioned ourselves right with everyone else. There's a lot of balance in our division. It's going to come down to what organization stays the healthiest and which team plays up to their capabilities."

Ryan said he was pleased with what general manager Jon Daniels and his staff did under tough circumstances this offseason. As a minority owner and head of baseball operations, Daniels will report to Ryan directly. Ryan said that's been the case the last few months, but for most of his nearly two years, Ryan and Daniels reported to Hicks. Ryan stressed that he did not anticipate making any changes in baseball operations.

Ryan said that manager Ron Washington's contract situation would be handled similar to last season. Washington's deal expires at the end of 2010. Last season, the club had an option for 2010 and exercised it June 8 with the team in contention.

Ryan said he has a "minor stake" in the club and that he and Greenberg invested the same amount.

"We felt like we'd take the same position," Ryan said. "Everybody needs some equity in there. With Chuck's background and mine, I think the investors have developed a comfort level that their interests will be well represented."

The Rangers will have a board of directors run by the two biggest investors in Rangers Baseball Express, Dallas' Ray Davis and Fort Worth's Bob Simpson. The group must still get approval from Hicks Sports Group's 40 lenders and 75 percent of MLB owners.

Richard Durrett covers the Texas Rangers for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.