The Cubs no doubt hoped lefty Brian Duensing would bounce back in a big way for them this year, since he was already on a guaranteed contract worth $3.5 million, and money is awfully tight.
But it wasn’t going to happen, and Duensing has today been designated for assignment.
After performing like a true diamond in the rough in 2017, the Cubs re-signed Duensing to a modest two-year, $7 million deal (he had larger offers elsewhere), which immediately turned into a clunker of a contract. Duensing suffered through a disastrous 2018 season, full of injuries and ineffectiveness, and it simply didn’t look like he had turned everything around this offseason.
So, despite his big league contract worth $3.5 million, the Cubs are going to eat that cost in service of having the best bullpen they can in April. It’s the right move.
Technically, with a DFA, the Cubs have seven days to try to find a taker for Duensing, but at most they might be able to get a teeny tiny salary savings or a bad contract swap. Even then, I would think all interested parties know Duensing will eventually be released anyway, at which point they could try to pick him up on a minor league deal. (If that happens, and then *if* Duensing made a big league roster, at least the Cubs would save the prorated portion of the big league minimum.)
So, instead, Duensing will be placed on waivers, after which he’ll probably be outrighted to Iowa – and he can decide whether to accept that outright assignment or head into free agency. He’s going to get his money either way, but maybe he’ll want to stay in the Cubs organization. We’ll see.
The move to DFA Duensing was precipitated by the addition of another lefty to the 40-man roster, Tim Collins, who was just signed to a big league deal and optioned to AAA Iowa:
Cubs signed LHP tim collins to major league deal. Duensing DFA’d to make room on 40-man. Collins optioned to AAA for now. Was in camp with Twins.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 24, 2019
Collins, 29, had some nice years with the Royals back in 2012 and 2013, but then he was beset by not one but two Tommy John surgeries. He missed all of 2015, 2016, and 2017, and then did not return to the big leagues until last year with the Nationals. Now, he’ll try to work his way back with the Cubs (who may well try to outright him off the 40-man roster at some point, but still keep him at Iowa).
More on Collins soon. The Cubs are likely to keep active on the waiver/trade circuit this week, in case another good option becomes available. (See, for example, the earlier Tony Watson rumor.) Otherwise, they’ll go with Mike Montgomery and one of Kyle Ryan/Randy Rosario as the lefties in the pen.