Nolan Ryan meets with Astros owner about returning to the organization’s front office

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MLB.com beat writer Brian McTaggart has the story:

HOUSTON — Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan met with Astros owner Jim Crane and president of business operations Reid Ryan on Tuesday morning at Minute Maid Park, a source confirmed for MLB.com.

Reid, son of the Texas legend, said last week Crane was scheduled to meet with his father sometime this week, perhaps to discuss a return to the organization in an official capacity.

Ryan served as an adviser to former Astros owner Drayton McLane from 2004-2008. He then took a high-level position with the Rangers, but that ended in October after some clashing with young GM Jon Daniels.

Ryan, an old-school baseball man, is probably interviewing for a position on the business side of things in Houston. That would avoid any issues with Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow — whose data-based approach is similar to Daniels’ — and would allow the 66-year-old Ryan to work closely with his son.

Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto reportedly asks to be traded

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Craig Mish of MLB Network Radio is reporting that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto has requested a trade out of Miami. Jon Heyman is characterizing it as Realmuto telling the team that he “wouldn’t mind” a trade.

Either way, Realmuto has no power to force a trade. This isn’t the NBA or something. Still, it’s evidence of just how dreary a prospect remaining in Miami is for Marlins veterans in the wake of trades that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York, Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.

Realmuto, who will turn 27 just before the 2018 season, hit .278/.332/.451 with 17 homers, 65 RBI, and eight steals over 141 games this past season. He only has three years of service time and is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason. He made just $562K in the 2017 and will get a big raise this year, but he’s still going to be underpaid based on his production. If the Marlins wanted to trade him, they’d get a nice return. Why they would want to trade him, I have no idea.

Expect more of this sort of thing as the Marlins slash payroll and make it clear that their immediate priorities are more about saving money and less about winning baseball games. Which may or may not be a valid goal for the team’s new owners, but is certainly a letdown for baseball players and fans.