Red Sox deal with A's for Harden falls apart

Red Sox deal with A's for Harden falls apart

CHICAGO -- The Red Sox, who have been in an exhaustive hunt for a starting pitcher before Sunday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, thought they had their man. By the late innings of Saturday's 10-2 win over the White Sox, Boston's front office felt it was closing in on a deal that would have brought right-hander Rich Harden over in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

But by the time the A's had finished their 8-3 win over the Twins, Harden told media members in Oakland that he wasn't being traded. Harden said that general manager Billy Beane informed him he would be making his next scheduled start for the A's on Tuesday.

A source directly involved in the talks between the two teams confirmed Harden's account -- that the deal fell through. After reviewing Harden's medical records, the Red Sox were left unconvinced that the righty could get through the rest of the season healthy.

The Red Sox were set to send first-base prospect Lars Anderson to the A's as part of the package. In fact, Daniel Nava pinch-hit for Anderson in the seventh inning of Triple-A Pawtucket's game on Saturday night.

Trade Include

With some time still left before the Deadline, there's always a chance talks could be resuscitated. But that doesn't seem likely.

In Harden, the Red Sox were trying to get a pitcher who is known for a solid repertoire of pitches, but also a long history of injuries.

Harden, 29, strained his lat muscle on the first day of Spring Training, delaying his return to the A's by several months. What was originally thought to be just a minor setback turned into an injury that caused him to miss the entire first half of the season, as his debut didn't come until July 1.

The righty is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five starts this season. In his career, which started with the A's and then included stints with the Cubs and Rangers before the brief return to Oakland, Harden is 57-35 with a 3.65 ERA in 160 games, 150 of them starts.

With the return of Clay Buchholz (back injury) uncertain and Daisuke Matsuzaka long since gone for the season, the Red Sox are actively searching for some rotation depth to help back up co-aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller are the other pitchers currently in Boston's rotation.

A healthy Harden could have been a nice piece.

Two other pitchers the Red Sox had targeted -- Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda -- could not be obtained. Jimenez was dealt from the Rockies to the Indians, while Kuroda informed the Dodgers he would not waive his no-trade clause.

Mariners lefty Erik Bedard, who was shelled on Friday night by the Rays, is one pitcher who is still on the trading block.

This isn't the first time a deal between the Red Sox and A's has fallen apart. In November 2002, Beane was set to be named general manager of the Red Sox. However, Beane had a change of heart, and that was when Theo Epstein became Boston's GM.

And on June 15, 1976, the A's thought they had traded Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Red Sox for $2 million, plus Steve Dillard and Andy Merchant. But the late Bowie Kuhn, at the time the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, voided the deal, citing "the best interests of baseball".

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.