Duensing, 33, spent much of the 2016 season in the minors. But he performed rather well there — with a 2.23 ERA and 9.5 K/9 versus 1.7 BB/9 over 32 1/3 innings — and earned a late-season promotion with the Orioles. In fourteen appearances for Baltimore, Duensing allowed six earned runs on 13 hits while recording ten hits against three walks.
Chicago had a need on the southpaw side of its pen, particularly assuming that Mike Montgomery will become a part of the rotation. But it’s still a bit surprising to see the defending World Series champs place a bet on Duensing, who is perhaps best characterized as a steadily useful arm. Over his eight-year major league career — the vast bulk of which came with the Twins — he has allowed 4.13 earned per regulation game while striking out 5.9 and walking 2.9 batters per nine to go with a solid (but hardly world-beating 46.3% groundball rate).