- Doug Mittler, ESPN Insider
The buzz around Texas Rangers camp in recent days has CEO Nolan Ryan as the possible odd man out in a front office shuffle.
The Rangers named Jon Daniels president of baseball operations Friday, paving the way for assistant general manager Thad Levine to eventually become the GM, and for A.J. Preller, senior director of player personnel, to continue in a prominent role.
Ryan has lost a little authority in the process, and that makes sense, writes Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com. “As much as Ryan has done for the Rangers, JD has made the vast majority of key moves that helped the Rangers advance to the World Series two of the past three seasons,” Taylor says.
In a Tuesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3's Fitzsimmons and Durrett Show, Daniels said he wants Ryan to stay. "I don't think anybody wants him to leave, and I know I've expressed that to him. In my mind, that [pushing Ryan out] would not be the case,” Daniels said.
ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney says the Rangers made the move to keep a bright young mind in the fold:
"To put it simply: The reason why the Texas Rangers gave Jon Daniels a new title the other day had more to do with assistant GM Thad Levine than it did about Nolan Ryan. Texas ownership wants to hold together the band that works under Daniels, and by giving Daniels the title of president of baseball operations, this creates some title space to promote Levine someday to general manager -- which is what's been done with David Forst in Oakland, and with Rick Hahn in Chicago. But after 36 hours of speculation about Ryan's future, it's become evident that he's not happy with the shifting titles and perception. It seems like everybody in the Texas organization is working hard to say this isn't a big deal and that Ryan's status is unchanged --except Ryan. And until he says himself that everything is hunky-dory, well, you can assume that all is not well."