The Wall Street Journal's Matthew Futterman argues that that just might be the case:
Nolan Ryan, now 64-years-old, won't throw a pitch this postseason (though don't bet he couldn't get an out). As the chief executive and a minority owner of the Texas Rangers, he's doing just about everything else. If you follow him around on a game day, something else becomes clear: There may be no other executive in major North American professional team sports who gives more time and thought to his players—or who has more useful information to give them in the first place.
It was Ryan who demanded the club stop babying young pitchers with pitch counts, hired pitching coach Mike Maddux, and built a tough-love development program built on stamina and strength that has produced the American League's best homegrown staff.
His work doesn't stop after the first pitch. While Ryan says he takes pains not to interfere with the pitching coach, the Hall-of-Fame pitcher says that when he sees something amiss with one of his pitchers, he'll leave his seats and offer the advice directly to the pitcher in the clubhouse tunnel—after the player has been removed from the game.
The piece is tinged with some light hyperbole -- mostly referring to the "Texas-bred pitching swami" line -- but actually is a pretty decent read despite touching upon some stuff that we already know. There's some talk about the Rangers committing themselves to pitching development once Nolan arrived in 2007, a reference to Bob Simpson's confidence in Nolan (who's apparently under a five-year deal to serve as the Rangers' CEO, a fact I haven't seen cited elsewhere) helping drive the expansion of payroll, and, perhaps most interesting, his hands-on interaction with Derek Holland and C.J. Wilson:
Daniels said Ryan serves as a sort of personal pitching coach to Wilson.
"He's probably the most important person in my career," said Wilson, who became a starter under Ryan's guidance in 2010. Wilson said he sees Ryan nearly every day when the Rangers are home and peppers him with questions. "With that kind of knowledge, why wouldn't you?" he asked.
Now, I don't think that automatically equates to Nolan being a huge proponent of doing "whatever it takes" to keep C.J. here after this season ... but if there really is this kind of tight student-mentor relationship in place that seems to be alluded to here, it's hard to imagine Nolan not tapping into his vast organizational influence to push for the Rangers to lock up C.J.