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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.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO —¬†Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.