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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.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.