Cubs Acquire Alec Mills from Royals
The Cubs acquired 25-year old RHSP Alec Mills from the Kansas City Royals Wednesday evening in exchange for minor league OF Donnie Dewees.
LHRP David Rollins has been Designated for Assignment 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 Jason Hammel, 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 Brett Butler-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).
jdrnym 49 min 35 sec ago (view)
All makes sense, but I think there is one important point of clarification in there -- are you using "practice squad" and "Club Player Pool" interchangeably? If so, I understood the first sentence of your third-to-last paragraph above to mean that Mills/Sadler/Underwood could be outrighted and still be in the Pool, therefore retaining their eligibility to re-selected to the major league active roster later in the season.
Arizona Phil 3 hours 15 min ago (view)
jdrnym: Zack Short is still on Optional Assignment to the minors (as are Alzolay, M. Amaya, R. Garcia, Maples, T. Miller, Norwood, Rea, M. Rodriguez, and Steele), but he can be recalled at any time without restriction (no "ten-day rule") because he was optioned to the minors prior to the transaction freeze in March.
crunch 7 hours 38 min ago (view)
the toles update is worse than his troubled past. toles has been diagnosed bipolar + schizophrenia and has been in/out of institutions over the past couple years. he can't seem to stick to any program long enough to get good treatment.
hope he turns whatever corner he needs to in order to get enough treatment to decide what kind of future he'd like to have.
Dolorous Jon Lester 10 hours 28 min ago (view)
Those two are definitely on more precarious ground once the roster is trimmed to 26, I would say.
jdrnym 10 hours 31 min ago (view)
Right, just went through the roster quick. Underwood, Sadler, same deal.
Dolorous Jon Lester 12 hours 47 min ago (view)
Can't answer the Short thing. But I'd agree with your assessment of Mills if he weren't basically a lock to make the roster.
jdrnym 12 hours 55 min ago (view)
Is Zack Short's official designation still "on optional assignment" even though he's not on the Pool? If so, he can't just be recalled even though he's on the 40-man roster, right?
And someone like Alec Mills who's on the Pool and out of options... he's virtually locked onto the active roster because he can't get taken off (via an outright) and remain eligible to be re-added. Seems like the kind of player you'd prefer to leave off the initial Pool.
crunch 13 hours 19 min ago (view)
though he went to the hospital for treatment he was never admitted, so he's yet another person who got dragged hard by Covid, but who's case isn't showing up in the hospital admission, ICU bed, or death numbers most of us are looking at.
there's a whole slew of people who have had to shut down their lives for 2-4-6-etc weeks to get over this that are falling outside of the numbers we're tracking most closely.
Cubster 13 hours 48 min ago (view)
"In yet another reminder of how insidious this particular disease can be, Hottovy says he had acted quite cautiously in public before coming down with it. Fortunately, he was able to self-isolate and avoid transmitting it to his family."
crunch 14 hours 59 min ago (view)
it'll be interesting to see how things go down when people have to start playing games in AZ. they're damn close to being "early NYC level" screwed with a lack of planning and action.
with the early plan of playing games in AZ/FL, they could have been huge economic winners with 15+ teams playing all their games in AZ (and spring training 2.0). now it's looking like some teams may not even want to fly into AZ for a few dozen "away" games.
crunch 15 hours 15 min ago (view)
cubs pitching coach tommy hottovy was diagnosed with covid-19 earlier this spring, but he is currently assumed fully recovered.
he had a 100+ degree temperature for 6 days, lost 18 pounds, and it took 30 days for him to test negative.
he's 38 years old, btw.
Hagsag 22 hours 14 min ago (view)
crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
at least the cubs got elston back for pretty much nothing. also, ha.
Rob Richardson 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
How many coachs, managers, and other "tier 1" individuals around the league are in higher risk groups?
Rob Richardson 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Well said Crunch.