After an injury-filled, and dreadfully-performed 2018 season, the Cubs elected to DFA lefty Brian Duensing this past weekend, believing he was not going to be their best bet out of the gate for contributions from the bullpen. That meant potentially eating $3.5 million in the process, but that’s a sunk cost – either you believe he is the best bet to help your team or you don’t.
In any case, the Cubs DFA’d Duensing and then sent him through waivers, which he obviously cleared:
Cubs lefty reliever Brian Duensing cleared waivers and was out-righted to Triple-A Iowa.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 28, 2019
Because he has sufficient big league service time, Duensing, 36, has the right to refuse that outright assignment and become a free agent if he wants. He’d still keep his $3.5 million contract, but could sign wherever he wanted – and if he made the big leagues elsewhere, his new team would pay him the pro-rated portion of the big league minimum, and the Cubs would save that amount.
I tend to think it’s a little more likely, though, that Duensing remains in the Cubs’ organization – maybe even remains in Arizona – working on his game, and being available if and when there is another need for a lefty (assuming he’s got things clicking at that point).
Right now, the excellent 2017 season kind of looks like a flash in the pan for Duensing, but maybe it’s still in there somewhere. Good to keep him around just in case.