OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Rich Harden #18 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at O.co Coliseum on July 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Rich Harden Is Staying With The A's; Red Sox Deal Falls Through

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Rich Harden Trade Nixed By Red Sox

Saturday night, it appeared that Oakland Athletics righthander Rich Harden had been traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitching prospect Lars Anderson. Anderson was even pulled from his Triple-A Pawtucket start.

The plot grew thicker. Harden told reporters he wasn’t going anywhere, and now we know the reason, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:

The deal was killed by Harden’s medical history. According to an MLB source, the Red Sox pulled the plug after reviewing Harden’s records and coming to the conclusion he would not be able to get through the season.

This has been a hallmark of Harden’s career — injury troubles. Although teams love Harden’s fastball and performance when he’s healthy, the truth is that he has almost never been healthy during his career. He won’t turn 30 until November, but in his nine major league seasons he’s made 30 or more starts only once — 31 in 2004, his first full major league season.

Other than that, he has spent time on the DL every season and the last time he was truly effective was the second half of the 2008 season, when he posted a 1.77 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 13 starts, striking out 92 in 77 innings after being acquired by the Cubs in a multiplayer deal in July.

The current proposed deal with the Red Sox is off.

For more, please visit our SB Nation Athletics blog Athletics Nation and our SB Nation Red Sox blog Over The Monster.


Rich Harden Trade: Rich Harden Isn't Traded?

Boston Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson was pulled from his start in Pawtucket, and the scuttlebutt was that he was going to the Oakland A's for right-handed pitcher Rich Harden. This wild rumor was irresponsibly parroted by disreputable sources like MLB.com:

BREAKING: Red Sox acquire RHP Rich Harden from A's for 1B prospect Lars Anderson and a player to be named later … http://atmlb.com/o21lv3

Shameful, shameful rumormongers. Turns out that Harden isn't being traded at all. At least, he doesn't think so:

Harden: "I'm here and staying here."

Oh. And from Susan Slusser, another indication that Harden is staying:

Harden deal still being finalized.

Wait, sorry. That was from 40 minutes ago. I meant to link to this one from 20 minutes ago.

Harden says he's staying. "I'm happy to be part of this organization. I'm looking forward to starting Tuesday."

As interesting a non-trade as you'll ever see. It's almost funny until you realize that Lars Anderson is alone at a bus depot, with everything he owns in one duffel bag. Right about now, he's probably fumbling with a cell phone that's got a dead battery.


Meet Rich Harden, Newest Red Sox Following Trade With A's

The Rich Harden trade between the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics is, for all intents and purposes, official. There's no word yet on the identity of the player to be named later, but the Red Sox will be losing prospect Lars Anderson and gaining righty Rich Harden.

So who is Rich Harden? Harden's a guy who has injured everything there is to injure. He's started 106 Major League games since the beginning of the 2005 season. He's been on the disabled list with oblique problems, elbow problems, shoulder problems, back problems and hip problems, and he started this very season on the DL with a shoulder injury. He didn't actually show up in the bigs until the first of July.

But since then, he's started five games, and done this:

Rk Date Opp IP H R BB SO HR
1 Jul 1 ARI 6.0 4 2 0 6 1
2 Jul 7 @ TEX 5.0 8 5 2 2 1
3 Jul 16(2) LAA 7.0 4 3 2 9 2
4 Jul 23 @ NYY 5.1 5 2 4 6 1
5 Jul 28 TBR 6.0 3 2 2 7 1
29.1 24 14 10 30 6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/30/2011.

Five starts, 29-1/3 innings, 30 strikeouts. And just as importantly - or more importantly? - he's kept his fastball in the low- to mid-90s, while keeping his change in the mid-80s. Harden's basically a two-pitch pitcher, but they're two really good pitches when they're working.

For the time being, at least, it looks like they're working. Harden's always been effective when healthy, and even though he seldom works deep, that makes him valuable. Harden has tremendous value when he's healthy. The problem's just always keeping him healthy, and the Red Sox are taking a risk.

They did it because it's a risk with big upside. As with Erik Bedard, Harden could pitch like a front-of-the-rotation starter, or he could get hurt and do nothing. Just imagine if he's healthy by the playoffs. He would be an incredible weapon, and a weapon the Red Sox got on the cheap because of all the questions.

One figures Harden will immediately slot into the Red Sox's rotation. But the issue isn't so much how Harden does now as it is how Harden does in two months. The Red Sox are going to the playoffs. If Harden's pitching in October, the organization could look back on this move as being absolutely huge.

As for Lars Anderson - Anderson was a moderately hot prospect a few years ago, but his stock has dropped sharply after unimpressive stints, both last season and this, with triple-A Pawtucket. He'll be added to the list of young power-hitting prospects the Athletics hope can actually hit for power.


MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox To Send Lars Anderson In Deal For Rich Harden, According To Report

Reports just came out on Saturday that the Boston Red Sox are close to pulling off a Rich Harden trade with the Oakland Athletics. What was initially unclear was what Harden would cost, but Kevin Goldstein checks in with a report:

Won't be official until tomorrow, but sources indicate it's Lars Anderson AND PTBNL from to for Harden.

This would explain why Anderson was removed from a Pawtucket game earlier in the day. On the surface, it seems a bit steep. Anderson was rated the No. 17 prospect in baseball prior to 2009 by Baseball America, and then the No. 87 prospect in baseball prior to 2010. But then, Anderson's stock has been dropping. The left-handed first baseman is still only 23, but he's plateaued in triple-A, posting a .775 OPS over more than 900 trips to the plate. He's shown some discipline, but his power has yet to develop, which is wreaking havoc on his ceiling.

Still, considering that Harden is an injury-prone rental, the A's will be happy to take a chance on Anderson. Plus, there's the player to be named later. Oakland comes away with an intriguing young talent, and Boston comes away with a guy who could either help them win the World Series, or get hurt and do absolutely nothing at all.

As Goldstein writes, this deal isn't expected to go down for realsies until Sunday.

Also, Dan Roche confirms that it will be Anderson and a PTBNL for Harden. This trade has not happened, but it is happening.


MLB Trade Rumors: Red Sox Reportedly Closing In On Rich Harden

The Boston Red Sox have been searching far and wide for a talented starting pitcher to add to their rotation. They were in on Ubaldo Jimenez, but he's headed to the Indians. They were in on Hiroki Kuroda, but he's not willing to move. They were in on Erik Bedard, but he looked bad in a Friday audition. So what's left? Jayson Stark has a clue:

Looks as if & closing in on a deal for Rich Harden tonight. That one also not "done!"

Let's repeat: the Red Sox thought the fragile Erik Bedard looked shaky on Friday, so they have repotedly turned their attention to Rich Harden.

It makes sense, though. Harden is very similar to Bedard, in that he has all the talent in the world, and a completely unreliable body that drives his price way down. Harden was sidelined for a few months this year with a shoulder injury, which is nothing new, but he's come back to start five games, flashing his usual good fastball and changeup. In 29-1/3 innings, he has ten walks and 30 strikeouts, showing that he can still succeed. It's just a matter of keeping him on the mound, and from the looks of things, the Red Sox are willing to roll the dice.

No word yet on what the return might be, but Harden's price is probably lower than Bedard's, so it's doubtful the Red Sox would cough up too much, if this rumor is true.

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