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Prospective owner wants Ryan to stay

Prospective owner wants Ryan to stay

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Dennis Gilbert, the former sports agent who has formed a group in an attempt to purchase the Rangers, said he would like the opportunity to persuade club president Nolan Ryan to stay with the team.

Ryan is aligned with a group led by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg. Ryan confirmed Tuesday that he would stay with the team if Greenberg's group is successful in buying the Rangers from current owner Tom Hicks.

Ryan said he would not stay with the team if Gilbert's group buys the Rangers. Gilbert said he was hoping to meet with Ryan here at the Winter Meetings.

"I haven't been able to speak to him, but I would be disappointed," Gilbert said. "If I am lucky enough to buy the team, I will try to persuade him otherwise."

Hicks came to Ryan with a proposal last week that involved him staying with the organization in Gilbert's group. Ryan wasn't interested. If Gilbert is successful buying the team, he would take over control of the day-to-day operations. Ryan currently does that as club president.

"Under the scenario presented to me by Tom last week, after thinking about it a couple of days, I told Tom I wouldn't stay with the club under that scenario," said Ryan, who has been club president for the past two years.

Hicks has put the team up for sale in order to reduce or eliminate the substantial amount of debt in Hicks Sports Group. The final price tag is expected to be in excess of $500 million, but must be approved by Major League Baseball and the banks that hold HSG's debt.

Both Greenberg and Gilbert submitted revised proposals on Monday. Greenberg's proposal included different scenarios that would allow Hicks to remain as a minority partner, but without the power that he currently holds as sole owner. Ryan would be the club president, Greenberg would be managing partner and the club would be overseen by a board of directors.

"It's up to Tom whether he wants to stay involved or not stay involved," Ryan said. "It just depends on what Tom's hopes are. He has always had that option."

Hicks, according to sources, is still exploring the possibility of forming his own local ownership group that would allow him to retain controlling interest. But it may be difficult to get approval from Major League Baseball as well as the HSG debt holders.

If Hicks does retain controlling interest, Ryan said he would like to stay with the team as president.

"I came here to help Tom and the Rangers," Ryan said. "If Tom continues to own the club and be in control, and my role were to stay the same, I would stay."

It is up to Hicks to decide which of these proposals suits him best. But Major League Baseball has told him to make a decision by Dec. 15.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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