HOUSTON -- Rangers president Nolan Ryan said he would be in favor of the possibility of the Astros moving into the American League West.
That's one of the rumors that has been floating around baseball over the past few weeks. Nothing official has been proposed by the Commissioner's Office, and Ryan said he has heard little in the way of an official discussion.
But moving the Astros to the AL West would give Major League Baseball six five-team divisions rather than the unbalanced current configuration. Ryan likes the idea of having at least one team from the Central Time Zone in the same division as the Rangers as well as the three West Coast teams.
"We're at a disadvantage with our television audience of having to go west, so I would be in favor of adding somebody from our time zone," Ryan said. "I think having the Astros and the Rangers in the same pennant race would really stimulate interest in baseball in the state of Texas. If it is in the best interests of the Rangers, we'd be for it."
Ryan is in town to watch the Rangers play the Astros in the second half of their annual home-and-home Lone Star Series. The Rangers went into Wednesday's game with a 3-1 lead in the series.
The Rangers also went into Wednesday's game with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Angels in the AL West. Ryan said his biggest frustration with the Rangers has been their inconsistency.
"When you watch our ballclub, they go through periods where they don't play well, and then they'll have a stretch where they play well," Ryan said. "It's just not one part of the team, it has been a team effort. One night we won't get the big hit, the next night our starting pitching falters and then our bullpen waivers."
The bullpen remains the Rangers' main focus. They have been talking to other teams but are also hoping to get Darren O'Day, Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter off the disabled list at some point between now and the All-Star break. That may reduce the need for the Rangers to make an impact deal, and Ryan was cautious about saying the club would be able to do that.
"The thing about making a statement like that is it comes down to who might be available," Ryan said. "It's premature to make a statement like that when you're not sure who will be available. If the right person is out there, you try to do something to help the ballclub."