Drake Britton

Drake Britton on leaving Red Sox: 'It definitely caught me off guard'

Rob Bradford
February 04, 2015 - 5:46 pm

As of about a week ago, Drake Britton one only thinking about one thing -- proving to the Red Sox that he could be a valuable member of their 2015 bullpen. He had remained in Boston for the offseason, working out at Fenway Park, and was set to fly down to Fort Myers Friday to kick off his spring training workouts. But then, last Friday, he got the word -- the Red Sox signed free agent Alexi Ogando, leading to the team designating the 25-year-old lefty for assignment. Then, Tuesday afternoon, Britton got the call from Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington that the pitcher had been picked up off waivers by the Cubs. "That'€™s why it was such a big shock to me because I made a lot of sacrifices to stay up here and to workout like I did," Britton said by phone. "I was excited to go into spring training with the Red Sox just to show that they should keep me and prove to them I made the proper adjustments and the things I needed to do to stand out. I didn'€™t get that opportunity with them, but now I have the opportunity to go over to Chicago and show them what I got." The decision clearly wasn'€™t an easy one for the Red Sox, who were ready to have the Sox'€™ 23rd round pick in the 2007 draft compete for a spot in the bullpen. But after the acquisition of lefty Robbie Ross, and knowing that Britton was out of options, the organization'€™s hand was forced. Considering Britton'€™s stuff, his moderate success as a major league reliever (2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 innings), and the Cubs'€™ front office'€™s familiarity with the former Texas high school standout, the final outcome wasn'€™t as much of a surprise for Britton as the Red Sox'€™ initial decision to take him off the 40-man roster "It definitely did," said Britton when asked if the DFA took him by surprise. "Obviously I'€™ve been in the organization long enough and gone through some things that I understand the business side, which is why have their reasons for what they'€™re doing. I can'€™t control it. I would have loved to play my whole career in Boston. I loved it there, everything about it. It definitely caught me off guard. But when one door closes, another one opens. I'€™m just excited to be part of the Cubs now. "I have respect for those guys. I would like to think part of it was tough, and that I made enough of an impact on the field that it wasn'€™t an easy decision. I respect their decision and they'€™re going to have a great team. It just caught me off guard." The reality is that Britton may have an easier path to the majors with the Cubs then he would have with the Sox. Chicago is currently light on lefty relievers, carrying Zac Rosscup, Joe Ortiz and Pedro Feliciano (who will attend spring training on a minor-league deal). "I'€™m excited. I'€™m just ready to get it going," he said. "I '€˜m ready to get to Arizona and get it going. I found out the news and I was shocked at first. I was nervous playing the waiting game wondering where I was going to go, having had all my plans to go down to Fort Myers. But now I excited to be headed to the Cubs."