Well this is a pretty odd one to wake up to on a Saturday morning in the middle of Spring Training.
Today, the Chicago Cubs sent Stephen Ridings, their 2016 8th round pick, to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfield prospect Donnie Dewees. You may remember Dewees as the Cubs’ 2015 2nd round pick, after he was one of the most productive college bats in the country, but was subsequently traded to the Royals for now-Cubs-pitching-prospect Alec Mills two years ago.
Dewees, 25, has never shown that top tier bat in professional ball, primarily because he’s never quite developed the kind of power you’d want to see from a corner outfielder. He split time between AA and AAA with the Royals last year, posting underwhelming lines at each stop (he was .266/.315/.423, 92 wRC+ at AAA, for example). He did post a 109 wRC+ in 2017 at AA, for what that’s worth.
So why did the Cubs get him back? Well, I presume this was just a matter of a couple organizations that have dealt together before, each having minor league roster crunches that the other could alleviate. In Dewees, the Cubs get some upper-level outfield depth. In Ridings, the Royals get a 23-year-old with good numbers in low-A, but who was very likely to get squeezed out of meaningful, age-appropriate innings in the Cubs’ system (we keep saying it: yes, the Cubs do have tons of pitching prospects in the A to AA range).
We’ll see if there’s more to it than that – i.e., if the Cubs are losing some other upper-level outfield depth in a waiver transaction or something – but for now, I think it’s just an atypical, but unsexy, prospect swap.