Last week, I wrote an article when Nolan Ryan was quoted as saying that the Texas Rangers “area of biggest need is pitching”. That made me think that Ryan thought it was time for a change in the organization.
The change I thought he would enforce was to go out and bring in a new starting pitcher either through free agency or trade, but it looks like that change is going to be Ryan leaving the Rangers. These aren’t directly connected, but now that Jon Daniels has been promoted to president of baseball operations for the Rangers, it sure looks like Ryan is going to leave the club.
The Rangers have accepted a lot of big losses this off-season in the forms of Mike Napoli, Michael Young, and Josh Hamilton.
But, if Ryan does end up leaving, then he becomes the biggest loss the Rangers will face.
If you ask around Arlington who people believe was the main component in the Rangers organizational shift back in 2008, most people will say either Hamilton, who was brought in the off-season prior, or the man who traded for him.
I believe Ryan was a much bigger component. Not only did he trade Edison Volquez for Hamilton – a trade that ended incredibly one-sided after Volquez had one good season and then fell off and was traded to the San Diego Padres - Ryan also changed the pitching mentality.
Before Ryan, pitchers would use Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as an excuse to pitch poorly. They wouldn’t feel bad if they got into the fifth inning with only five earned runs.
Ryan changed that. If he could pitch in Texas, so could they.
Pitchers started to get in trouble if they didn’t go seven innings and give up less than three runs. Ryan taught them how to pitch. It has been said that Ryan may be gone by the end of spring training. If he does leave, this Rangers organization may just go back to the cellar where they were before him.