The Cubs have signed left-handed reliever Tim Collins to a one-year, major league deal and designated fellow southpaw reliever Brian Duensing for assignment, Jesse Rogers of ESPN tweets. Collins, an Octagon client, will report to Triple-A with his new team.
Collins hit the open market Friday when the Twins released him, ending a short stay with the team that signed him to a minors pact in early February. The 29-year-old, who broke in as a quality reliever with the Royals back in 2011, has barely seen action in recent seasons on account of significant injury troubles (including multiple Tommy John surgeries). But Collins did return to the majors last year for the first time since 2014 and accrue 22 2/3 innings as a member of the Nationals, with whom he logged unspectacular numbers (4.37 ERA/5.76 FIP with 8.34 K/9 and 4.76 BB/9). Collins was neither tough on lefties nor righties last year in the majors, though he did perform well at the Triple-A level, where he put up a 3.94 ERA/2.71 FIP with 9.56 K/9 against 4.22 BB/9.
Collins will give the Cubs some lefty relief depth behind Mike Montgomery and along with the injured Xavier Cedeno. Duensing had been filling that role, and it’s possible he’ll continue to if he stays in the organization. The 36-year-old would first have to get through waivers unclaimed, which is a distinct possibility given that he’s due a $3.5MM salary this season. Duensing’s set to close out a two-year, $7MM contract, which he earned entering 2018 on the heels of a standout season in Chicago. Unfortunately for the two parties, though, Duensing struggled to a disastrous 7.65 ERA/6.35 FIP with equally unappealing strikeout and walk rates (5.73 K/9, 6.93 BB/9) in 37 2/3 frames last year.