HOUSTON -- The potential to return to baseball and help with an organization on the rise, as well as an opportunity to work closely with his eldest son, has Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan considering joining the Astros in an undetermined role.
Ryan met with Astros owner Jim Crane, general manager Jeff Luhnow and his son, president of business operations Reid Ryan, as well as some other members of the front office on Tuesday morning at Minute Maid Park. Nolan Ryan told MLB.com the meeting went very well.
"I had a very positive meeting with Jeff and then with Jim and just talked about what they would foresee my role with the organization might be," he said. "So I left it with Jim that I'd get back with him. I wanted to give some thought to it. I'll get back to him prior to Spring Training and let them know whether I'm interested in coming over or not."
Nolan Ryan, citing a desire to spend more time on his ranch and with his family, stepped down as the chief executive officer of the Rangers at the end of October. Ryan said at the time he didn't expect to work for the Astros, who hired Reid in May.
The Astros are coming off a third consecutive 100-plus-loss season, but they have the top farm system in baseball, according to ESPN.com, and are stacked with young and talented right-handed pitchers who could no doubt benefit from Ryan's tutelage.
"I think to have an opportunity to work with Reid and what is an organization that is headed in the right direction and has turned the corner and the potential they have, to be involved in that would be fun and be exciting," Ryan said.
If he does return to the Astros, Ryan's role likely won't be as nearly as involved as it was with Texas. And it would mark a return to the Astros, with whom he worked in an advisory role from 2004-08. He said there are several factors that will play into his decision to return to Houston.
"I really kind of need to have an understanding of what their expectations were and what it would require as far as a time commitment, if I was comfortable with that," Ryan said. "Our home is still here in Georgetown, [Texas], so there would be some commuting with me back and forth to Houston."
Ryan grew up in Alvin, Texas, just south of Houston, and pitched nine of his 27 years with the Astros (1980-88), before finishing his playing career in Arlington. He was hired by former Rangers owner Tom Hicks as club president in February 2008.
Ryan later joined with an ownership group put together by Chuck Greenberg that submitted the highest bid in a bankruptcy auction in August 2010. When Greenberg was forced out in March 2011, Ryan added the title of CEO.
"He brings credibility, he brings experience," Reid Ryan said last week. "He's like Roger [Clemens] in the fact you can use him in so many ways. I think the one thing is I don't think he has a desire to be in the office every day. He doesn't want to mess with my plan and Jeff's plan, and he wants to be there and help us both and help Jim. He loves this game and loves the Astros, even when he was in Arlington. Hopefully, he and Jim can sit down and figure something out."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.