The Chicago Cubs are heading into an important offseason following yet another solid season in 2017. It was not the year that the Cubs had hoped for, but they were still able to make it all the way to the NLCS. Joe Maddon and the Cubs were easily knocked out of the postseason by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but they should still be proud about being one of the top two teams in the National League for the third straight year.
Looking ahead to the upcoming offseason, there are quite a few needs for the Cubs. Among those needs is the bullpen, which struggled mightily last season and especially in the playoffs.
Theo Epstein has his work cut out for him. Chicago is facing the possibility of losing Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis in free agency. Davis was one of the best closers in baseball last season, while Arrieta has been a huge part of their success over the past three years.
Brian Duensing is a free agent as well and is likely one of the most underrated players on the market. Chicago may have other top priorities, but re-signing Duensing should be close to the top of their list.
Last season with the Cubs, Duensing ended up recording a 2.74 ERA in 62.1 innings pitched, according to ESPN. He was one of the most consistent arms for Maddon and allowing him to walk in free agency would be a massive mistake.
There are very few options in free agency that would be better fits than Duensing for the Cubs. They could look into signing a veteran reliever like Bryan Shaw or Brandon Kintzler, but they would not bring much more than Duensing does.
All of that being said, re-signing Duensing should certainly be at the top of Epstein’s to-do list. Finding veteran relievers like Duensing is not an easy task and he is already familiar with the Cubs’ staff and fit well.
Expect to see the Cubs show interest in re-signing Duensing early on this offseason. The interest should be mutual after the success that he found with Chicago last season.