Oklahoma City, OK
In less than 24 hours, the Oklahoma Scissor Tails franchise has undergone a massive change, completely altering their look and, hopefully, their play on the field. The team, now in its second year under GM Hilowitz’s reign, has struggled to start the 1997 campaign, while also being ravished with injuries. Willie Silva, Adam Strange and Jeff Slaughter have all missed big chunks of the season while serving as the three biggest contributors to Oklahoma’s success last season. Jorge Lopez regressed before being lost for the season to injury, while Donata Giancana was lost for 6 weeks in the team’s last series.
Having lost 7 in a row and 9 of 10, the team’s brass had had enough, and pulled the trigger on two blockbuster deals. Having been shut out of free agency due to their GM’s constant nomadic lifestyle, the team has struggled and was desperate for a change of culture. The first casualty was star pitcher Rich Stines, who was sent to St.Paul for up and coming star outfielder Nicholas Brown, pitcher Isaiah Haynes, and prospect Riichi Tsukiyama. For Oklahoma, the deal signified a foundational shift to their franchise, of which Stines had been a main bright spot for years. However, he missed all of last year with an arm injury, and stugglee to regain his dominant form, compounded by Oklahoma’s brutal bullpen.
“Rich has been a big piece of our franchise” said GM Hilowitz, announcing the trades at a press conference today. “But given our struggles, we felt the time was now to go in a different direction.” Meanwhile, Brown has been one of the bedt young players in the game, while Oklahoma is optimistic about Haynes’ ability to bolster a depleted pitching staff. Additinally, the team’s scouting department was extremely high on Tsukiyama, and believes he could become a legitimate star down the line.
As news of the Stines deal reverberated across the league and through the Oklahoma landscape, the team then announced that they had traded Daniel Drake, the 1st overall pick in the 1995 draft. In return, Oklahoma received star pitcher Takahashi Morita from the Brooklyn Royals, along with Gilberto Ruvalcaba and Morimichi Miyoshi, both in AAA. The deal brings in an immediate impact pitcher to replace Stines, while also bolstering the team’s bullpen. “We’ve always made it a point to be honest with the press, and here’s what I have to say about Daniel Drake: nice guy, but will never amount to much” said Hilowitz in a surprisingly candid interview. After missing almost all of last year after struggling mightily in U24, Drake, now 24 years old, was again shelled in his first two starts at AAA. “The fact of the matter is that our scouting department, who was not here in 1995 when he was taken 1st overall, was not high on him at all. They feel that his criling is extremely limited. Couple that with his injury issues, age, and lack of success on the firld, and it was an easy decision.”
Initially, it was rumored that Brooklyn was interested in Josh Miller, but were told that he was not an optiin. Despite the fact that Drake was the only prospect listed on the OSA top 100 from Oklahoma, the team was happy to move on from him while addressing a need. “We wish him the best of luck in Brooklyn and are excited to see how things go for us” said Hilowitz. At 11-21, they’ll need to go exceedingly well for the Scissor Tails to have any hope of sniffing the post-season.
Author Oklahoma GM Jon Hilowitz’