Cubs continue to add bullpen arms, trade for Mills

Cubs continue to add bullpen arms, trade for Mills

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs continued to stock up on arms, acquiring right-hander Alec Mills from the Royals for Minor League outfielder Donnie Dewees on Wednesday.

Mills, 25, made his Major League debut last season, appearing in three games in relief. He combined to go 5-5 with a 3.22 ERA in 24 appearances, all but one as a starter, last year between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. He had a 13.50 ERA in three outings with the Royals.

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Mills was designated for assignment on Wednesday to make room on the Royals' roster for newly acquired pitcher Jason Hammel, who had pitched for the Cubs the last two seasons and signed a two-year deal with Kansas City on Wednesday. Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he was certain Mills would be claimed.

"Alec is a kid with tools," Moore said. "It was difficult, but we had other arms we felt we needed to protect."

Mills was selected by Kansas City in the 22nd round of the 2012 Draft, and was 19-22 with nine saves and a 3.03 ERA in five Minor League seasons.

Mills has options remaining, just as recently acquired reliever Eddie Butler does, which made them both attractive additions.

Dewees, 23, a second-round pick in 2015, batted .278 with 10 home runs and 103 RBIs in 195 Minor League games over the last two seasons. He was ranked 12th on MLBPipeline.com's list of Top 30 Cubs prospects. He had an impressive stint in the Cape Cod League in 2014, and led NCAA Division I players in runs (88), hits (106), total bases (188), and slugging (.749) while ranking second in hitting (.422) at the University of North Florida. He has plus speed, and was projected to play center field in 2017.

To make room for Mills on the Cubs' 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher David Rollins was designated for assignment. Rollins, 27, has had a busy offseason as far as transactions go. He spent the 2016 season with the Mariners, who had selected him in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft from the Astros.

On Nov. 18, he was claimed off waivers by the Cubs, but four days later, he was selected off waivers by the Rangers. On Dec. 2, Rollins was claimed off waivers by the Phillies. That didn't last long. On Dec. 21, the Rangers selected him again off waivers, and two days later, the Cubs claimed the lefty for a second time.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.