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Nolan Ryan's Departure Suggests Astros' Institutional Unrest is Worse Than We Knew

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 03: Former Houston Astro pitcher Nolan Ryan waves to the crowd along with Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and wife Whitney during the inaugural 2019 Houston Astros Hall of Fame at Minute Maid Park on August 03, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Astros may have come within one win of grabbing the Commissioner's Trophy for the second time in three years, but Nolan Ryan's departure is the latest in a series of unsettling developments.

The Ryan Express is leaving his role as executive advisor to owner Jim Crane, but the cryptic way in which he is leaving makes it seem like things continue to go wrong in the Houston front office far beyond the recent Brandon Taubman drama.

Ryan was blunt in explaining his departure from the team, which could very well stem from Crane replacing Ryan's son, Reid, with his own son, Jared, as team president. The younger Ryan will now be working away from baseball ops as the executive advisor for business operations.

This is simply the latest in a series of Astros PR fiascos and palace intrigue over the last few weeks. First came assistant GM Brandon Taubman's insensitive comments to a group of female reporters concerning Roberto Osuna, a disaster that the team woefully mishandled before eventually firing him. AJ Hinch then caught flak for not using Gerrit Cole in Game 7 of the World Series; Cole did not respond positively, shining the more negative light on the team.

The elder Ryan's role is important, as he's a living symbol of this franchise and even serves as co-owner of its Double-A and Triple-A teams. He's not as essential to day-to-day operations as a general manager or president, but if he's willing to leave a comfortable position in the manner that he did, things are clearly far from okay inside Astros HQ heading into to offseason.

Ryan joined the Astros in this advisory capacity in 2014, one year after Crane named Reid president of baseball operations. He came to work with an owner who had just promoted his son, and now he's leaving the same owner who demoted his son-- that's the wrong kind of poetic.

If a man who first joined the Astros organization nearly 40 years ago is willing to leave in such an unceremonious way, something is not right. It just isn't.