ARLINGTON -- Rangers president Nolan Ryan met with the media before Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and made three things clear: The Rangers' goal is still to win the World Series and anything less will be viewed as a disappointment. He would be shocked if general manager Jon Daniels left the organization at the end of the season.
Cattle are easier to deal with than baseball players. "Cattle don't talk back to you and they pretty much do what you ask of them," Ryan said. Yes, it was a wide-ranging session. But nobody is particularly interested in Ryan's ranching ventures right now. The Rangers played the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS on Friday night and Ryan threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jim Sundberg. This is the first time the Rangers have been to the League Championship Series and Ryan labeled the Game 5 victory over the Rays in the Division Series on Tuesday as the greatest moment in franchise history. But he is still expecting more. "Our goal is to get in the World Series and win the World Series, and if we fall short of that, we'll be disappointed," Ryan said. "That's not to say we won't look back on the year and the postseason and feel good about what we accomplished, but we'll still feel like that we didn't finish what we wanted to do. "So, if that were to happen, I think it would be motivation, obviously, to the organization and to the team itself to go to Spring Training next year with that goal in mind again." Ryan expects that Daniels will still be the general manager at that time. Since the Rangers were sold during the season, Daniels has an escape clause in his contract that would allow him to leave the organization when the season is over. That, plus the Mets looking for a general manager has brought rampant speculation that Daniels, who is from New York, could become a candidate. So far the Mets have not asked for permission and Ryan doesn't expect to lose Daniels. "I really would be shocked if he didn't stay with us," Ryan said. Daniels is in his fifth season as the Rangers' general manager and has completely restructured and rebuilt much of the front office and farm system. He also hired manager Ron Washington and oversaw the rebuilding program that brought the Rangers back to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Daniels continues to say that the escape clause, "is the farthest thing from my mind." Ryan and CEO Chuck Greenberg both said that extensions for Daniels and Washington are top priorities going into the offseason. Daniels is signed through 2011 and Ryan said it's "very important" to keep him around. "He's been one of the key people in this organization with what he's been able to bring to the organization, with the scouts and the development people, and developing the plan that started in 2007," Ryan said. "Obviously, we want to retain him. There's been speculation about him getting other opportunities, but I think we feel pretty comfortable that this is his organization and these are his people, and that it's an exciting time to be associated with the Texas Rangers." Ryan is hoping that will continue, although he understands how hard that is at the Major League level. Ryan believes the Rangers -- with their deep farm system, nucleus of young talent in the big leagues, and the new ownership -- could be in position to continue this success beyond 2010 if everything continues to fall into place. "I know how hard it is to maintain that from year-to-year," Ryan said. "And obviously, you can't predict injuries or free agency or anything of that nature. But I think as an organization, we have positioned ourselves to try to continue doing what we are doing, and that's feeding the Major League club from within our organization, and then fill in needs that we have outside the organization. "But the main focus is the development side of our organization, and we are going to continue that. We would like to think that we have some young talent in the system that we project will come in at some point in time and be part of a winning effort."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.