Heyman says Duensing “had deals for significantly more money elsewhere,” but decided to come back to Chicago because he “liked the Cubs experience” more. In his first season with Chicago after spending seven seasons with the Twins and one with the Orioles, the 34-year-old lefty posted a 2.74 ERA and had career-bests in strikeouts per nine innings (8.8), strikeouts per walk (3.39), earned runs allowed (19), walks (18) and appearances (68).
By re-signing Duensing, the Cubs have added their fifth pitcher of the offseason, as they also added relievers Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek plus starters Tyler Chatwood and Drew Smyly. Duensing should be featured in the setup role ahead of Morrow, who is the team’s new closer after being a workhorse reliever with the Dodgers last season.
Duensing, Morrow and Cishek, who also signed a two-year deal after being a setup man for the Mariners and Rays last year, will provide the Cubs a new-look bullpen after losing closer Wade Davis to the Rockies and reliever Hector Rondon to the Astros. Cubs relievers finished the 2017 season with a team ERA of 3.80, which ranked the sixth best in baseball.