Once the Red Sox finalize the signing of Craig Breslow to a one year contract worth $2M, they’ll be forced to remove one player from their 40-man roster. Considering both Boston’s logjam of Triple-A relievers (and starters who will likely turn into relievers) in addition to his being out of options, Drake Britton could be one of the players in the Red Sox organization most likely to be traded in the coming days and weeks.
Britton first made the jump to the majors in 2013, when he pitched in 18 games out of the Red Sox bullpen. His results were generally good in that timeframe as he posted a 3.86 ERA to go with 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in his first experience as a reliever. However, everything went south for Britton in 2014 when he started the season in Triple-A Pawtucket.
In 45 games with the PawSox this season, Britton’s ERA ballooned to 5.86 and he walked more batters than he struck out. That lack of success in Pawtucket prohibited Britton from receiving an extended stay in the majors this season and, while his Boston numbers (6.2 shutout innings) were strong, that can likely be attributed to luck rather than the unheard-of ability to perform better in the major leagues than in Triple-A.
The Red Sox have added some depth to their bullpen this winter, re-signing Koji Uehara and Breslow while adding Anthony Varvaro. They do still have some weaknesses in the left-handed relief department, though, as Breslow represents the only reliable southpaw in that bullpen. On the surface, Britton appears that he could be a blessing to this Red Sox bullpen; however, it’s unlikely he’ll even get the chance this season.
As he’s out of options, the Red Sox will probably trade him shortly in an effort to receive something in return for him (as another team would likely grab him on waivers). It won’t be a major move, but as the Red Sox have already accomplished much of the heavy lifting this offseason, this might be just about as interesting as it gets until spring training.