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Cubs acquire Alec Mills from the Royals

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The Cubs announced on Wednesday that the club acquired pitcher Alec Mills from the Royals in exchange for minor league outfielder Donnie Dewees. To create roster space, the Cubs designated pitcher David Rollins for assignment.

Mills, 25, made his major league debut last season, making three appearances and allowing five runs. Despite the lackluster performance in a very small sample, Mills progressed quickly. He was with the Royals’ High-A affiliate in Wilmington in 2015, started 2016 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and made his way to Triple-A Omaha in mid-June.

Dewees, 23, spent last season with Single-A South Bend and High-A Myrtle Beach, hitting a combined .284/.338/.416 with 25 doubles, 14 triples, 31 stolen bases, 73 RBI, and 90 runs scored in 557 plate appearances. ESPN’s Keith Law rated him as the Cubs’ 15th-best prospect.

The real story here, though, is Rollins. On the heels of a great article by Sports Illustrated’s Jon Tayler, I discussed the tough offseason some fringe major leaguers go thorugh. Rollins was among them. This has been Rollins’ offseason thus far after ending the 2016 campaign with the Mariners:

  • November 18: Cubs claim Rollins off waivers from the Mariners
  • November 22: Rangers claim Rollins off waivers from the Cubs
  • December 2: Phillies claim Rollins off waivers from the Rangers
  • December 14: Phillies designate Rollins for assignment
  • December 21: Rangers claim Rollins off waivers from the Phillies
  • December 23: Cubs claim Rollins off waivers from the Rangers
  • February 8: Cubs designate Rollins for assignment

So, once again, Rollins has no idea where he’ll actually have to report to for spring training.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.