HOUSTON (AP) — Nolan Ryan could be a candidate to become president of the Texas Rangers.
The Hall of Fame pitcher hasn't talked specifically with Rangers owner Tom Hicks about the possibility of taking the job, but their meeting last week did include discussion about whether such an opportunity would be attractive to Ryan, currently under contract with the Houston Astros. He is a special assistant to the general manager and is in the last year of a five-year agreement with the team.
Ryan said the meeting with Hicks and other Rangers officials was "more of an opportunity to visit" than anything else and it was too early to determine where it might lead.
The Rangers job was vacated in November when Jeff Cogen was moved to the same position with the NHL's Dallas Stars, also owned by Hicks.
"They did ask permission to visit with me and there was some discussion during lunch about what they're looking for in the presidency — I think just to see what my interest level might be," Ryan said Monday, the first day of Houston's hitting and pitching camp for prospects.
Ryan was coy about how interested he is.
"I don't know yet," he said. "I think that's developing, just to see what it is they're looking for and to see if it's compatible with me. I think it's too premature to really know."
While he isn't sure whether he'd like to be the Rangers' president, he did say the idea of having such a job was intriguing.
"From a baseball perspective, I think everybody would like to be involved in putting a ballclub together and try to put a winning effort together," he said. "So I think obviously from my perspective there would be some attraction to that."
The Rangers had no comment on the meeting with Ryan, releasing only a statement on behalf of Hicks that said the process of choosing a president takes time.
Ryan pitched for the Astros from 1980-88 before finishing his career with the Rangers, pitching for them from 1989-1993. After his retirement, he fulfilled a 10-year personal services contract with the Rangers before returning to the Astros in that capacity in 2004.
He said he spoke with Astros owner Drayton McLane after the Rangers were given permission to speak with him and told McLane he would talk to him before making any decisions regarding a move.
"I'm probably in the same boat that everybody else is, in the organization and in the city, that while we wish all the best for Nolan, we want it all to happen in a Houston Astros environment," Astros general manager Ed Wade said. "I hope he goes through the process. I hope he's invigorated and honored to be spoken to, and then says, 'I want to be with the Astros.'"
Ryan said he isn't concerned about extending his contract with the Astros before it expires regardless of how the Rangers situation pans out.
"My arrangement with the Astros has been very enjoyable," he said. "So I'm not really looking to expand on that or extend my contract. I really feel like when my contract is up, if it's good for both of us then we'll talk about it again."