Tulsa Drillers To Become Los Angeles Dodgers Affiliate
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Drillers will become the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers starting next season. The team held a 3 p.m. press conference to announce a two-year "introductory" agreement with Dodgers. Two or four years are only options, according to Drillers GM Mike Melega.
The Drillers just completed their 12th season as an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
Major league teams agree to Player Development Contracts with their affiliates that last either two years or four years. Teams are not allowed to bid money to recruit affiliates, but the Drillers' facilities and high attendance make them attractive to major league clubs.
"We are thrilled to be working with the Hubbard family and making Tulsa our home for the Dodgers' double-A team," Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said. "Having our top two minor league teams within the state of Oklahoma will certainly be great for our organization and for the Dodger fans in the state."
The Dodgers also announced the Oklahoma City Redhawks as their Triple-A affiliate, giving them an easy commute for players, scouts, and executives.
Today's announcements mean the Drillers and Redhawks are affiliated with the same parent club for the first time since the Texas Rangers moved their Double-A affiliation to Frisco following the 2002 season.
Tulsa drew 403,732 fans during 65 regular season openings in 2014, according to Texas League figures. That places the Drillers fourth among all Double-A teams, and the highest of any Double-A team seeking a new affiliation.
The Drillers will remain in the Texas League and play the same opponents.
The Dodgers were the one of four potential options for the Drillers. They could have re-signed with the Rockies, or partnered with the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Minnesota Twins.
The Chattanooga Lookouts have been the Dodgers' Double-A team since 2009. They finished 61-77 on the season, but won the Southern League North Division second half title and reached the league championship series before being swept.
An intriguing name for Drillers fans to watch for next season will be Julio Urias, the talented 18-year-old phenom pitcher from Mexico. He pitched at High-A Rancho Cucamonga this season and posted a 2-2 record with a 2.36 ERA. Urias struck out 109 batters in 87 and two-thirds innings, and pitched in the MLB Futures Game.