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Astros, Nolan Ryan part ways

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Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan has stepped down from his role as an executive advisor with the Astros. Ryan said, “I will not be back with the club and will leave it at that.”

Nolan’s son Reid had been the president of business operations with the Astros, but he has stepped down and moved into an executive advisor role, Berman reports. In a statement, Ryan said, “Jim Crane has been a great owner for the city of Houston, and I think him for the opportunity to lead the Houston Astros organization. Thank you to the many employees, fans, and partners that have supported this team during my tenure as president. Baseball is about bringing joy to people’s lives and I take pride in knowing that we have made so many memories for our fans. While my role has changed, I will remain with the Astros and look forward to another great season in 2020.”

Jim Crane’s son Jared will join the front office, per Berman. Jared will assist the front office “in a broad variety of functions related to the operations,” according to Berman.

That Nolan is out and Reid was effectively demoted certainly comes as a surprise. One wonders if the Brandon Taubman controversy — or the myriad other controversies the organization has caused in recent years — had anything to do with it.

Nolan owns Triple-A Round Rock. Round Rock became an affiliate of the Astros again last year after eight years as the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News suggests, Nolan’s ouster may force the Astros to find a new Triple-A team when its contract is up.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.