The Great 2017-18 Baseball Free Agent Logjam has broken for the Cubs, in a small way at least:
Sources: cubs have deal to bring back Brian Duensing. $7M for 2 years.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 17, 2018
Source confirms: #Cubs in agreement with free-agent LH reliever Brian Duensing on two-year, $7M deal. First reported: @JonHeyman.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 17, 2018
Brian Duensing had an excellent year for the Cubs in 2017, posting a 2.74 ERA, 1.219 WHIP and 1.4 bWAR in 68 appearances. His walk rate of 2.6 per nine innings was the best of any reliever on the Cubs staff last year.
Along with most observers, I thought the Cubs would thank Duensing for his fine year and let him walk. He’ll turn 35 next month and I suspected they might want to go with someone younger, and also with Duensing’s good year he would likely cash in from some other team willing to pay for past performance.
That didn’t happen. Duensing made $2 million from the Cubs in 2017, and the AAV of this new deal is only $3.5 million, quite reasonable for a reliever of Duensing’s talent. And for those who think players always take the most money, read this:
Duensing had deals for significantly more money elsewhere but liked the cubs experience so much he wanted to return. Can’t blame him. Chicago’s the best (in the summer)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 17, 2018
So, even though this pays for Duensing’s age-35 and age-36 seasons, it does so for a reasonable amount of cash, and doesn’t likely hamstring the team’s ability to sign a starting pitcher. This does likely complete the bullpen, which will probably look like this on Opening Day: Brandon Morrow, Steve Cishek, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery, Justin Grimm, Justin Wilson and Duensing.
Good work, Theo & Co. With this signing the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 39, so there’s still room to add another player.
Brian Duensing’s new contract!
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