Red Sox Trade News: Rich Harden Deal Off, So Where Do Red Sox Look for Pitching?

Adam Hirshfield@ahirshfieldFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2011

BALTIMORE - APRIL 30:  General Manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox watches batting practice before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on April 30, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

There were widespread reports on Saturday that the Boston Red Sox had agreed to a trade with the Oakland Athletics that would send minor-league prospect Lars Anderson and a player to be named later to Oakland for veteran right-hander Rich Harden. But it looks Sunday morning as if the proposed deal is off.

According to the Boston Globe, an MLB source told them that the Red Sox pulled out of the deal due to concerns about Harden's medical history.

Harden—a fireballing 29-year-old right-hander who has averaged just 16 starts a season since 2006 and has already missed half of 2011 after landing on the 60-day DL with a strained latissimus dorsi muscle—has made just made five starts for the A’s this season, sporting a 2-1 record and 4.30 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

"The Red Sox reviewed [Harden’s] records and concluded he likely wouldn't be able to pitch injury-free through the end of the season," said the report.

"I just spoke with [Oakland GM] Billy [Beane] and he says I'm an 'A' and I'm starting on Tuesday in Seattle," Harden told reporters. "It's definitely a strange position to be in, but from what I hear, I'm here and I'm staying here. I'm happy to be an 'A'. ... It's definitely a strange position to be in."

More importantly for us Red Sox fans, where does this leave their starting rotation as the deadline approaches?

SEATTLE - JULY 29:  Starting pitcher Erik Bedard #45 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on July 29, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ubaldo Jimenez is off the board and headed for Cleveland. Hiroki Kuroda is seemingly unavailable after reportedly refusing to waive his no-trade clause. Doug Fister, Tommy Hunter and Jason Marquis have already been moved in separate deals.

So what will the Sox do? Is Erik Bedard (pictured at right) still on Boston’s radar?

Writes ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes:

The Red Sox could attempt to revive the [Harden] deal, but that appeared unlikely. More likely, they will look elsewhere, though the pickings remain slim: Seattle left-hander Erik Bedard is one possibility, but so far both the Yankees and Red Sox have come up empty in their mutual search for pitching help. And how often have we been able to say that?

It should be a busy Sunday for GM Theo Epstein and his cellphone provider.