Recently reported by several members of the media on Twitter, it seems as though Rich Harden will be shipping up to Boston. Coming to Boston from the Oakland Athletics, Harden will be jumping from a lower level team to a playoff contender in Boston.
Harden has been plagued by injury this season, but upon his return at the beginning of this month, he has been an effective part of the Athletics' squad. Sporting a 2-1 record with a 4.30 ERA, Harden is a solid back of the order starting pitcher that the Red Sox needed.
Some may be asking of what price the Red Sox needed to pay. To answer said question, all the Red Sox gave up is prospect Lars Anderson (and a player to be named later). Once a highly regarded prospect for his sheer power and ability to play first base, Anderson heads to a team where he will have the opportunity to play, as Adrian Gonzalez is Boston's long term plan for the next six seasons.
Anderson has potential to become a big time player one day, but nowhere near the level of Adrian Gonzalez, which makes this a good deal on both ends.
This season, Harden has pitched five outings, only struggling in one. Despite that one start, Harden has struck out at least six batters and has only allowed three earned runs in four of those five solid outings. Harden will not be the reincarnation of Cy Young, but he will be a very effective back of the rotation pitcher who will have far more offensive production than he did in Oakland.
What are Harden's flaws? Well, for one, he is an injury prone player, proven by the fact he had only started his season this month. Also, Harden is most likely a rental player as he will be a free agent come this offseason. At essentially no cost, the Boston Red Sox made an effective and cheap move that will aid them in their playoff run this year.
Is he going to be the sole missing piece to the Red Sox 2011 World Series run? No, but he could be a huge part of it. The Red Sox needed a quality starting pitcher at a low cost and that is what they received in Harden.
If healthy and if consistent, Harden is without a doubt the answer to the Red Sox problems in regards to pitching depth. Boston did not lose anything they needed in this deal and the Athletics gained a very impressive prospect.
Update: The Associated Press is reporting that the trade has fallen through.
The report states, "Harden isn't headed for Beantown after all. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of such talks."