The Cubs have re-acquired minor league outfielder Donnie Dewees from the Royals in exchange for righty pitching prospect Stephen Ridings, as the Royals’ Twitter account announced Saturday. A second round pick in 2015, Dewees showed solid potential at the plate in A-ball before a 2017 trade to KC that brought the Cubs righty Alec Mills
We have acquired RHP Stephen Ridings from the Cubs in exchange for OF Donnie Dewees. #Royals
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 9, 2019
On the surface, this trade may seem a little counterintuitive for a Cubs team that is flush with outfielders but has had trouble developing pitchers. Ridings profiles as legit power pitcher, able to generate mid-to-upper-90’s velocity with a whip-like 6-foot-8 frame. He’s also possessed of a strong work ethic, the proof of which is in the effort he put in as an undergrad at Haverford College to become more than a spot reliever with a mid-80’s fastball.
As a condition of his signing bonus as the Cubs’ eighth round pick in 2017, Ridings had the team agree to pay for his final two semesters of college. His plan was to complete his degree in chemistry and then attend grad school if the baseball thing didn’t work out. That sounds like exactly the kind of player the Cubs want on multiple levels.
But Ridings is still a long way off from Chicago and Dewees should be at Triple-A this season, possibly offering depth should injuries deplete any of the Cubs’ regular outfielders. This is a low-risk move that brings back a familiar face and provides the Cubs with more immediate help, even if Ridings’ ceiling is a little higher.
If Dewees is able to recapture the form that had him posting a .346 wOBA and wRC+ north of 110 back in 2016, he could find himself wearing a Cubs uniform later this year.