With just two weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Mesa, the Chicago Cubs are still adding depth pieces to the bullpen after claiming left-hander Drake Britton off waivers from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Britton, just 25, has spent time at the big league level in each of the past two seasons with Boston, pitching to a 2.93 earned run average in an admittedly limited 27 2/3 innings of work. Most of the year was spent with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, where he struggled mightily – posting a 5.86 ERA, 1.971 WHIP and alarming 11.9 H/9 in 45 relief appearances.
Last season, he made just half a dozen appearances with Boston, and he did not allow a run, striking out four in 6 2/3 innings of work. A year prior with the World Series champion Red Sox, he posted a 2.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 18 games – with a 3.05 FIP – a respectable mark for a big league rookie.
The former 23rd-round pick of the Red Sox began his career in professional baseball back in 2007. Since that point in time, the southpaw has a 4.63 ERA in 509 1/3 innings of work, peaking prior to the 2011 season whenÃ‚Â Baseball AmericaÃ‚Â ranked him as the 97th-best prospect in Major League Baseball.
He joins the likes of Zac Rosscup in the Chicago bullpen – with Wesley Wright leaving after one season on the North Side. Whoever loses out on the fifth starting spot between Travis Wood, Felix Doubront and Tsuyoshi Wada will also likely see time out of the bullpen in 2015, as well.
Given the lack of short-relief options from the left side in Chicago, Britton stands a fair chance of breaking camp with the club out of Spring Training this year. If he can continue to be effective – as he has during his first two seasons in Boston – the southpaw could be a versatile weapon at the back end of the Cubs bullpen.