Ryan: Rangers are not hindered
Team may conduct business, and trade, amid Hicks' troubles
ARLINGTON -- Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said on Friday that the club will not be restricted because of owner Tom Hicks' financial troubles. This comes one day after it was reported that Major League Baseball has provided the Rangers access to a reported $15 million from the central fund to help ensure a stable environment for the club."If we have something that would be beneficial, we would bring it to Tom," Ryan said of trade offers. "There haven't been any restrictions put on us." In early April, the Hicks Sports Group defaulted on $515 million in loans. Hicks said in May he would be willing to sell controlling interest in the Rangers, but "I don't expect to see anything happen during the course of the season," Ryan said. "If there's an ownership change, I think it'll be in the offseason or the spring. That's just my expectation." Hicks said at the time of the default on the loan that he was trying to generate new capital. Under MLB's debt-service rule, teams can no longer borrow money from banks to pay ongoing expenses such as payroll. The general options are selling an equity position in the team, as Hicks is attempting to do, or cut costs, which he's also doing.
"We are simply asking the lenders to be reasonable," Hicks said when the debt situation made headlines this spring. "They need to understand that these important assets must be managed with a long-term perspective and a commitment to winning. That's in the best interest of the franchises, our employees and certainly our fans."
Hicks owns the Rangers and the National Hockey League's Dallas Stars almost in total; 50 percent of American Airlines Center, where the Stars play; and 50 percent of Liverpool Football Club, an English Premier League soccer team.
In the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the Rangers drafted Matthew Purke and Tanner Scheppers, both of whom ranked in the top 10 Draft prospects by Baseball America. General manager Jon Daniels said he wouldn't draft someone he didn't expect to be able to sign.Ryan said it may take until August -- the deadline to sign both players is Aug. 17 -- before those players are signed. The Rangers are rumored to have signed 16-year-old Jurickson Profar, Baseball America's No. 15-rated prospect among international players.
Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.