Cubs Acquire Alec Mills from Royals

The Cubs acquired 25-year old RHSP  from the Kansas City Royals Wednesday evening in exchange for minor league OF

LHRP has been by the Cubs to make room for Mills on the MLB Reserve List (40-man roster).   

Mills had been Designated for Assignment by Kansas City earlier Wednesday after the Royals signed free-agent (and ex-Cub) RHSP , so the Cubs did not waste any time going after Mills once he hit the DFA list.    

Mills was selected by the Royals in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft out of UT - Martin, and he had a couple of decent (but not exceptional) seasons as a SP/RP "swingman" in the lower minors before sustaining a torn elbow ligament. He underwent Tommy John Surgery in July of 2013, but he recovered from it very well and returned to action as a full-time starting pitcher in late 2014, and he is actually a better pitcher (and a much better prospect) now than he was before the TJS. 

The 6'4 190 Mills was rated the Royals #12 prospect by Baseball America coming into the 2016 season. He made his MLB debut (working in relief) on May 18th (he was called-up as the "26th man" in a doubleheader), and was optioned back to AAA the next day. He then made two more relief appearances for the Royals in September. Meanwhile, Mills had a fine season in the minors in 2016 (split between AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha), putting up a 3.22 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and a .252 Opp BA, and an outstanding 31/122 BB/K in 125.2 IP (24 games - 23 GS).

Although he was not used as a starting pitcher at the big league level with the Royals, Mills projects as an MLB rotation starter going forward, with excellent control (just 45 BB allowed in 239 IP 2015-16), a 90-92 MPH fastball that touches 94, a plus-change, a serviceable breaking ball, and legitimate swing & miss stuff (233 punch-outs in 239 IP over the past two seasons). He will likely be in the AAA Iowa starting rotation in 2016 (he could even be the #1 starter there), available to get a recall if an "emergency" starter is needed and it's his turn to pitch, and he will very likely compete for a job in the Cubs MLB starting rotation in 2018 (Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Brett Anderson are free-agents post-2017).  

Mills has two minor league options left, so the Cubs will have no problem sending him back & forth to Iowa in both 2017 and 2018.

Dewees was the Cubs 2nd round draft pick out of the University of North Florida in 2015, and while I am a big Donnie Dewees fan (I considered him to be one of the Cubs Top 15 Prospects post-2016), I did not see a long-term future for him with the Cubs. He is an excellent "fly-hawk" albeit with a well below-average arm, he has plus-speed (50 SB in 195 minor league game), and his "ceiling" is probably a -type lead-off hitter (high contact/good bunter/not much power), but because he has a rag-arm he might have to play LF in MLB (although because of his plus speed, CF is still a possibility), and also because of his weak throwing arm he really does not project as a "4th outfielder" at the big league level because he can't play RF (an MLB 4th outfielder needs to be at least passably-adequate at all three outfield positions).

David Rollins has been claimed off waivers five times (twice by the Cubs) since the end of the 2016 season, and so now the Cubs will (once again) try to secure Outright Assignnment waivers, and if they can (if no other MLB club claims him), he will be sent outright him to AAA Iowa (most certainly with a standing NRI to Spring Training). If waivers can be secured and the Cubs outright Rollins to the minors, he will remain under club control through the 2018 season (presuming he isn't traded, released, or selected in the December 2017 Rule 5 Draft).

Comments

I liked Dewees a fair amount but wasn't very high on him and he was most likely a 4th OFer for the Cubs. This is a smart move for a team that's in win now mode. Starting pitching depth was the biggest need going into the off-season and this FO has addressed that need about as well as they could with Anderson, Butler and now Mills to go along with Zastryzny. KC gets a good hitter with speed in exchange for a DFA'd pitcher. Good trade for both teams considering their respective needs.

The Royals got to see Donnie Dewees up close & personal at Advanced Instructs last fall, and Dewees went 6-12 with a double, a walk, two stolen bases, and three runs scored in three games versus KC. I don't know if the Cubs were necessarily "showcasing" him, but it couldn't have hurt his value to play like that against some of the Royals best prospects.

He also went 5-13 in a late three-game set against Wilmington in the Carolina League. They knew who they were getting.

The Cubs are getting down to the nub as far as players who can be dropped from the MLB 40-man roster if they acquire (by trade or waiver claim) another player who has been Designated for Assignment over the next four or five weeks. It doesn't mean the Cubs can't make another Butler or Mills type trade or claim a Floro or a Rollins off waivers or even sign a major league free-agent if one drops into their lap (as happened with Dexter Fowler last year), but it will be difficult to find room for anyone on the 40 right now.

Caleb Smith is a Rule 5 player so he can't be outrighted to the minors until Outright Assignment Waivers are secured AND (if waivers are secured) the Yankees elect not to reclaim him, and even if waivers are secured, he can't be outrighted until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, the eight Draft-Excluded players (Buchanan, Caratini, Hannemann, Leathersich, Pena, Rosario, Underwood, and Zastryzny) can't be sent to the minors (outrighted OR optioned) until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day, Szczur can't be sent outright to the minors until he signs a 2017 contract and contracts cannot be automatically renewed until March 1st (plus Szczur would certainly get claimed if the Cubs put him on waivers), and there is no way the Cubs are going to DFA Butler or Mills after giving up talent to get them.

So with Dylan Floro and David Rollins having already been moved off the 40 (and I figured they would be the first two to go), that leaves Aaron Brooks and Pierce Johnson as the only two players on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster who can (realistically) be Designated for Assignment (and outrighted if waivers can be secured) right now (that is, until at least 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day). The Cubs could release a Draft-Excluded player (like Buchanan or Leathersich) or try and trade Szczur, but there isn't a lot of wriggle room on the 40 right now if they acquire another player.

Nor are there many rotation spots left in Iowa.

I think there are 11 guys competing, if I'm not mistaken. Mills, Butler, Rob Z, Brooks, Buchanan, Frankoff, Williams Perez, Pries, Beeler, Ryan Williams, and Casey Kelly

Do the Cubs have any 60 Day DL candidates they can use once camp opens?

Q-MAN: Aaron Brooks finished the season on the 60-day DL, but as far as I know he is healthy now. Same goes for Brett Anderson. They would be the only ones I can think of, unless somebody got hurt during the off-season and it hasn't been reported yet. Remember, if a player is placed on the 60-day DL during Spring Training he must remain on the 60-day DL for at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season. Unlike a 7-day or 10-day DL assignment, a 60-day DL assignment cannot be backdated, and time spent on the 60-day DL during Spring Training doesn't count toward the 60-day minimum.

Mullee is healthy, then?

TIM: Conor Mullee is not on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster.

Mullee (August 2016 ulnar nerve surgery), Zac Rosscup (March 2016 shoulder surgery), Christian Villanueva (February 2016 broken leg), and Gerardo Concepcion were non-tendered on 12/2 and then Mullee, Rosscup, and Concepcion were signed by the Cubs to 2017 minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training after the Rule 5 Draft (so they couldn't get selected). I don't know if Mullee and Rosscup are ready to pitch yet, and if not they will probably spend the first part of the 2017 season at Extended Spring Training. 

Meanwhile, Villanueva signed a 2017 minor league contact with the San Diego Padres, reuniting him with A. J. Preller (who was the Rangers Scouting Director when Texas signed Villanueva out of Mexico in 2008). BTW, Villanueva did play for the Cubs in Advanced Instructs post-2016 prior to getting non-tendered, and he looked just fine. That could end up being a good signing by the Padres. 

AZ PHIL: Do you see Rickie Week's little 'bro Jemile getting many starts/abs? No doubt Jen Hoyer likes him from his Padres time, but based on last year, this kid can't hit his weight - which isn't much with his thin 5'9 frame. How is this player any better than the Cubs current high level farm system's better players?

"According to Forbes, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has a $1.6 billion "handshake agreement" to sell the team." this is from a Forbes staff writer, btw...not one of those occasionally crappy/questionable blog-like user submitted Forbes stories. loria paid $158m for the team 15-ish years ago. good f'n riddance loria family. this time stay gone.

Buyer is an unnamed Manhattan developer and might have too much debt to the league to approve.

i have many donald trump jokes to make in response, but i don't want to end up in a secret offshore FEMA camp.

lOl

Nope, not Trump .... just his daughter's father-in-law. https://twitter.com/mccoveychron?ref_src=twsr...

crunch, you're more likely to end up a regular on SNL. (I would watch that, by the way.)

"Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports." what the ever-living fuck is this bullshit? no. just no. period. no. get that the hell out of here. http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mlb-plans-to-tes...

Placing a runner at 2nd base at the start of an extra inning is stupid. They might as well have a home run derby or a foot-race between each team's fastest player to decide the game.

However...

Minor league baseball is different than MLB. The primary purpose of the minor leagues is player development, not winning the game. Winning is nice, but it's secondary to player development. Minor league games that are tied after nine innings should just be declared a tie. The Arizona Fall League has been doing this for years. Playing extra innings to determine a winner in a minor league game is not that important. It really doesn't matter. Nothing useful is served by going beyond nine innings in a minor league game. It could even be detrimental to player development.

In the major leagues, games should generally be automatically suspended after 12 innings, and the game should be re-started in the top of the 13th the next time the two teams meet, playing the balance of the suspended game before the scheduled game. The suspended game followed by a regularly scheduled game should be treated as a doubleheader, with a "26th man" (normally a pitcher) eligible to be recalled from the minors. Only if the game is the last game between the two teams that season would the game continue beyond 12 innings.

counterpoint: LH + RH pitcher and LH + RH batter simultaneous play multi-ball HR derby...10 swings or called strikes per batter...one of the balls is a special gold ball worth 2 runs and a steak dinner. any tie after that is broken with fan votes via texting or 1-800 number.

Or this... link

cubs need to sign bartolo colon next season...

Think of all the bison burgers Bartolo could be eating!

You can't say the Cubs front office doesn't stick to a strategy. They've built that rotation depth piece by piece since they announced that intent a few months ago.

it's the depth of a kiddie pool (in talent, not amount), but it's there nonetheless. having enough SP to have guys fight for a position in AAA isn't a bad place to be. brett anderson must have had one hell of a workout for them considering how he ended the year last season. here's to hoping we never see dallas beeler again.

Ha! Amen to that 'bro! After last year, we certainly can feel for the most part, this bunch knows what they're doing. How cool it would be if one of these reclamation projects, or rookies, just catch fire and put pressure on John Lackey's spot. I believe that John has gotten the best out of his arm, and wouldn't mind it if one of the new Cubs with their performances made him the Glendon Rush of the staff as a result.

I know the bullpen looks loaded, but I still would like Travis Wood back in the fold.

AZ Phil: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wrote an article about perpetual waiver-wire guys like David Rollins (http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/18654828/j...). Texas GM Jon Daniels is quoted as saying that GMs feel for guys like Rollins but can't agree what a reasonable solution is because the waiver wire process is designed to help guys like Rollins have a shot at someone's 40-man roster. It seem to me that an easy solution is to say that a guy can't be designated for assignment more often than a certain number of times, like twice in a calendar year for example. Any thoughts?

JOHN B: The problem with frivolous multiple waiver claims is much more of an issue during the off-season than it is during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season, so I would say the best solution would be that the waiver price should be increased from $20,000 to $50,000, and any player claimed off waivers during the waiver period that runs November 11 - February 15 would have similar status as players covered under MLB Rule 6 ("Selected Players" and "Draft-Excluded Players"), which is to say a player claimed off waivers during the waiver period that is in effect 11/11 - 2/15 cannot be Designated for Assignment, released, or optioned or sent outright to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

That would mean a player can be claimed off waivers only once during the off-season (after November 10th), but once he is claimed, the player knows he won't get claimed off waivers again until at least 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.

So an off-season waiver claim would be somewhat like a selection in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft (a Rule 6 "Selected Player"), except the claiming club doesn't have to offer the player back to the club from which he was claimed before he can be sent to the minors, and the player doesn't have to remain on the claiming club's 25-man roster during the regular season. He just has to remain on the claiming club's MLB 40-man roster until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day. In that sense it's more like a Rule 6 "Draft-Excluded Player" (roster restrictions removed 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day), except a Draft-Excluded Player isn't claimed off waivers or selected in the Rule 5 Draft from another MLB organization. (A Draft-Excluded Player is moved up to a club's MLB 40-man roster from the reserve list of one of the MLB club's own minor league affiliates to exclude the player from being eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft).

Hey, Phil! Any observations from live batting practices or the first few days of full squad workouts?

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  • Hagsag 12 hours 25 min ago (view)

    $$$$ for trump's defense fund.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 28 min ago (view)

    But they got $600 a few months back. Each! That was an unexpected windfall.

    Can't wait to see us acquire a 17 year old, 16 year old, 11 year old (all in the 15-30 range of Blue Jays prospects) and one of the shitty Jays surplus OFs. Randal Grichuk jerseys will be the new hot item among Cubs fans.

     

  • crunch 13 hours 20 min ago (view)

    things are a little tight, we have to be patient with the ricketts family finances.

    when TD Ameritrade was fully/completely sold in october they expected to get 26 billion dollars of value on the transaction, but it only got 22 billion dollars.  the massive slew of millions that didn't fully come to realization on the ricketts side of that sale stings.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 37 min ago (view)

    Trade Hendricks? Cant be true. We're "going to be competitive this year."

    Sell the team, Ricketts family.

     

  • crunch 13 hours 53 min ago (view)

    "Scott Mitchell of TSN reports that the Blue Jays have discussed a potential trade with the Cubs involving Kris Bryant and Kyle Hendricks.

    Mitchell was responding to a question on Twitter asking whether there was any truth to the rumor that the Jays had talked with the Cubs about a deal for both players, and he answered in the affirmative."

    this timeline sucks.

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    International Scouting Director Louie Eljaua was just on The Score and he mentioned that COVID is causing issues with completing physicals and officially signing guys, but he said they have 24 guys unufficially signed right now.

     

  • KingKongvsGodzilla 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    These guys are a year apart in age and Miller's easily had the stronger career to date. While I'm not big on Miller, much prefer his more standard injury (TJ) than whatever it is that sapped Foltynewicz's velocity. Folty without velocity just isn't interesting and is likely a much bigger injury risk

     

  • Cubster 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    from an mlb.com article by Jordan Bastian...excerpt on Cubs free agent starting pitching options:

    "Still, the Cubs need some more experienced Major League innings.

    Given the way the offseason has played out for the North Siders, free-agent possibilities could include Chris Archer. Archer missed all of 2020 due to thoracic outlet syndrome, but he hopes to be ready to go by Spring Training. Free agents Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Rodón, Rick Porcello and Trevor Williams are coming off forgettable '20 seasons but might benefit from the Cubs' analytics team.

     

  • Charlie 2 days 12 hours ago (view)

    At this rate, they will need 11 starters in 2021 but like 6 of them will be more or less Alec Mills. The defense will get plenty of practice, at least.

     

  • crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    i wouldn't be surprised to see jake arrieta come on board since no one else seems to want him and he'll probably have to take a 1yr deal...

     

  • crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    cubs get their backup catcher...hopefully not their main catcher...

    austin romine 1yr/1.5m

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Look no further than Shelby Miller!

     

  • crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    hank aaron has died.  passed away in his sleep.

    we've lost a lot of HOF'rs and other notables in the past many months.

     

  • Hagsag 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs are now the "Little Sisters of the Poor".

     

  • crunch 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    given what little we're supposed to expect out of this offseason that would have been a nice gamble.

    at this point i wonder if they're going to snag someone to put in between the 2 current staff aces that throw 88mph on a good day, or if they're just gonna toss one of the kids in there to break up the slow-tossers.

    i mean, there's gotta be something more than hendricks/davies/mills/alzolay/???...i hope.

     

  • springs 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    That sucks...I wanted to sign Q to a one year deal and see if he could right the ship.  At a minimum I hoped we'd get a draft pick when he left as a free agent and thought we could roll the dice to try and get that.  That trade....man.