Duensing, Cubs complete two-year deal

Veteran left-hander worked in 68 games for Chicago last season

January 17th, 2018

CHICAGO -- The Cubs welcomed back on Monday, signing the left-handed reliever to a two-year, $7 million deal.

Duensing, who turns 35 next month, ranked second among Cubs relievers last season in innings pitched (62 1/3) in his first season with the team. He posted a 2.74 ERA in 68 appearances, striking out 61. He became a free agent after the season. The agreement on a deal was first reported last week.

His return gives the Cubs at least three lefties in the bullpen, joining Mike Montgomery and . However, Montgomery may be in the rotation if the Cubs don't add another starter this offseason. The Cubs have been linked to free-agent starters , and Alex Cobb, all of whom remain unsigned.

So far this offseason, the Cubs have focused on pitching, signing relievers , , and and adding starters and Drew Smyly, although Smyly is coming back from elbow surgery and is not expected to contribute in 2018.

Duensing reportedly had other offers but wanted to remain with Chicago. He began last season on the disabled list with a back problem and gave up six runs in his first five appearances, but pitched to a 2.05 ERA in his final 63 outings, limiting opponents to a .232 batting average and .299 on-base percentage while recording a 1.18 WHIP.

Duensing took to Twitter on Monday to share his excitement:

The two hashtags are reference to the Cubs' relievers celebratory dancing in the bullpen after one of their teammates hits a home run.