The Cubs Opening Day roster is not finalized, but it appears the bullpen will be without lefty Brian Duensing.
Sunday, the Cubs announced that they signed left-handed reliever Tim Collins. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the team designated Duensing, 36, for assignment.
Cubs signed LHP tim collins to major league deal. Duensing DFA’d to make room on 40-man. Collins optioned to AAA for now. Was in camp with Twins.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) March 24, 2019
The Cubs could retain Duensing, though he has to pass through waivers first. However, it's unlikely any team claims him; Duensing will make $3.5 million in 2019 and has struggled in spring training following a disappointing 2018 season.
In eight Cactus League appearances, Duensing has allowed eight runs on nine hits in seven innings, surrendering two home runs. It's worth noting that he allowed no runs and just two hits in his first four appearances (four innings), though he has allowed six runs in his last two appearances, managing to record a single out on each occasion.
Duensing had a successful debut season with the Cubs in 2017, posting a 2.74 ERA in 68 games (62 1/3 innings). The Cubs re-signed him to a two-year contract ahead of the 2018 season, though his ERA ballooned to 7.65 in 48 games (37 2/3 innings). NBC Sports Chicago's Cam Ellis analyzed Duensing's 2018 struggles here.
Collins signed a minor league deal with the Twins in February, though they released him on Friday. The 29-year-old has pitched in parts of five MLB seasons with the Royals (2011-14) and Nationals (2018). After four-straight seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA, Collins did not pitch in 2015 and 2016 after undergoing multiple Tommy John surgeries. He finished the 2018 season with a 4.37 ERA in 38 games.
Collins presents the Cubs with left-handed bullpen depth. That "position" is one of the team's bigger question marks right now, as Mike Montgomery is the only lefty certain to make the Cubs Opening Day roster.
With Duensing designated for assignment, the Cubs could elect to put one of Allen Webster, Kyle Ryan or Randy Rosario on the Opening Day roster. Ryan and Rosario are lefties, for what it's worth.
Here is what the bullpen could look like when the team breaks camp:
Pedro Strop (if hamstring strain is healed)
Carl Edwards Jr.