For the second time this off-season, the Cubs traded one of their top outfielders in the system to Kansas City for a pitcher. Chicago traded minor league outfielder Donnie Dewees to the Kanas City Royals for right-handed pitcher Alec Mills. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designed LHP David Rollins for assignment.
Mills was designated for assignment by the Royals on Feb. 8, which promoted the trade with the North SIders. A 22nd round pick of Kansas City back in 2012 out of Tennessee-Martin, Mills has spent most of his five-year career as a starter in the Royals system, earning all star honors in the South Atlantic league (2013), Carolina league (2015) and Texas League (2016). Last season he split the year between AA and AAA, and made his pro debut, despite not having pitched above High A heading into the year. In 23 starts between the two levels, the 25-year-old logged 125.2 innings, striking out 122 while holding hitters to a .252 BAA.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander throws a sinking fastball in the low to mid-90s and also features a change-up and breaking ball. Mills made his pro debut on May 12 in the second game of a DH for KC and two relief appearances in September. The Cubs keep adding to their pitching depth and Mills provides another good arm that can be used out of the bullpen or developed in Iowa as a starter. He has two options left so the Cubs have time and flexibility on their side.
Mills cost the Cubs one of their top outfield prospects and a former second-round pick in 2015. The Cubs signed the speedy Dewees for a reported $1.7 million and he hit .266/.306/.376 in 66 games for Eugene. In his first full season, the 23-year-old earned Midwest League All-Star honors after a hot start and led the league with 12 triples before getting promoted to Myrtle Beach. The left-handed hitting Florida native continued to square up baseballs and batted .289/.339/.423 in 35 games and help lead the Pelicans to the Carolina League title, batting .423 in seven post-season contests. Dewees is an above average defender in center and his biggest weakness is his arm but injuries and not arm strength, have slowed his development. Dewees can take the ball deep but is better off putting it to play to all fields and utilizing his speed.
The off-season merry-go-round continues for Rollins as he’s designated for assignment for the sixth time, the second with the Cubs. And for those of you scoring at home: Seattle-Chicago-Texas-Philadelphia-Texas-Chicago.
Its the third trade the Cubs have made this off-season to accumulate more arms. They sent Jorge Soler to the Royals for closer Wade Davis and traded minor league reliever James Farris to Colorado for right-hander Eddie Butler.