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Rangers Shakeup a Triumph of "Moneyball" Approach?

Sports columnist says it appears ownership siding with "Moneyball" approach to baseball

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Local sports experts say they believe Nolan Ryan will choose to leave the Rangers. (Published Monday, Mar 4, 2013)

    A local sports columnist says the recent shakeup of the Texas Rangers' front office is a move from the "old school" of baseball to the "new school."

    Speculation that Texas icon Nolan Ryan was on his way out began to swirl soon after the Rangers announced that the "team president" job had been stripped from Ryan and added to general manager John Daniels' duties.

    Ryan remains CEO and part owner -- for now.

    "You go to a couple World Series and you average 93 wins over the last three years," said Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist. "Why would you even fool with this thing right now? It's hard to believe."

    Galloway says Ryan is "from the old school" and Daniels is "from the new school of baseball."

    It seems ownership is siding with the "new school" that is focused more on stats and numbers -- commonly referred to as the "Moneyball" approach -- versus the "old school" that is geared more toward scouting with the human eye and getting a gut feeling about a player, he said.

    The two often competing schools seem to have successfully co-existed in Arlington, Galloway said.

    The changes could cause Ryan to walk away -- and even join another team.

    "Clearly, John Daniels is running the baseball side of things and has the final say, according to ownership," said Chuck Cooperstein, 103.3 FM ESPN Radio personality. "Rick George controls the business side. Where does that leave Nolan Ryan?"

    "On first blush, it sure looks like Nolan Ryan is getting pushed out," he said.

    Fans are having trouble believing it.

    "Nolan Ryan is a proven winner," Monney Martin said. "[Ryan] has enhanced the Texas Rangers to the playoffs and the World Series, which has never happened here. I think it's the wrong decision."

    Local experts say the move seems to be less about Ryan and more about keeping Daniels and his staff intact, as some of Daniels' top assistants have been rumored to be on the move to other teams in the near future.

    "Maybe this does keep it intact but, at the same time, I find it hard to believe that other teams won't come after these guys, as talented as everybody thinks they are," Cooperstein said.

    Galloway and Cooperstein both agree that Ryan will choose to leave.

    "My guess is that [Nolan Ryan] will move on, that he'll be leaving the Rangers," Galloway said.

    "I can't see Nolan Ryan being a figurehead -- that's not his style. It never has been, never will be," Cooperstein said.