One of the most underrated players on the 2017 Cubs roster was left-handed reliever Brian Duensing.
On Wednesday, the Cubs and Duensing agreed on a two-year contract worth $7 million. The Cubs did not make an official announcement, and sources said the deal is pending a physical exam.
Duensing, who turns 35 on Feb. 22, went 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA and a WHIP of 1.22 in 68 games last season.
It was a rough start to the season for Duensing, a pitcher the Cubs signed as a free agent in December 2016. He posted an 8.10 ERA in April, but after that, he became one of the most dependable pitchers out of the ’pen, putting up an ERA of 1.06 in May, 0.00 in July and 1.93 in August.
“I didn’t really have a role early on, and maybe that helped, too, once I did establish a role,” he said in September. “A little bit was Wrigley; I think Wrigley got me a couple times. But I think once I got my feet wet and settled down and trusted myself a little bit that I could get the job done, things turned around and started going well.”
As far as being underrated, Duensing seemed OK with that.
“If someone in my position as a reliever, if we’re doing our job, no one really should know who we are,” he said. “Most times when people are talking about it is because we’re not doing our job correctly. I take pride in all those guys having confidence to give me an opportunity in big situations or whatever it may be.”
Duensing came up in 2009 with the Minnesota Twins. He pitched for the Twins through the 2015 season. He pitched for Baltimore in 2016.
For his career, he is 43-38 with a 4.01 ERA.
The Cubs have revamped their bullpen this winter. Closer Wade Davis signed with Colorado, and former closer Hector Rondon was not tendered a contract, and he signed with Houston. The Cubs signed Brandon Morrow, apparently to close, this offseason. They also added Steve Cishek and Dario Alvarez.