Not So Fast, Harden Deal is Off
Rich Harden is not going to the Red Sox. Lars Anderson is not going to the Athletics. The player to be named later will forever be left unnamed. In a report that spawned many “the sky is blue” type jokes the Red Sox received the medicals on Harden and were apparently less than impressed. WEEI‘s Alex Speier said this about Theo Epstein and the Red Sox recalculation,
“A review of medicals after an agreement on the parameters of the deal, according to a baseball source, led to uncertainty about what kind of contribution the Red Sox could expect from Harden down the stretch, and whether he would be able to make enough starts to justify the trade. Harden, who has been on the disabled list 10 times in his career — including for the first three months of this year due to a muscle strain under his right arm — is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five starts this year.”
I am both shocked and not shocked at this news. I am not shocked because, I think it is pretty obvious that the entire world knows that Harden is held together by chewing gum and popsicle sticks and any medical report he may have will both be lengthy and have ominous sounding muscle strains, breaks, tears, etc in it. I am shocked however because, how could the Red Sox not forsee this? Did they really think they were getting some sort of workhorse for the stretch run that would guarantee them 12 starts or something? Last night when I wrote about what sounded like a finalized trade I said,
“Harden is a ticking time bomb for injury so while the Red Sox could get two months (and beyond should they play into the playoffs as it appears they will) of good rotation depth, they could also get one warm up toss and find him done for the year.”
How could Epstein and the Red Sox not know about this from the get go? I mean whenever Harden does anything is it open season on reporters making injury remarks yet somehow they missed that?
I guess the other thing that this whole scenario makes me think – aside from the disappointment of the loss of someone who could’ve potentially filled a hole that needs much filling in the A’s offense by not getting Anderson – is just how bad is this medical report? I realize he is a ticking time bomb all the time, but what is so bad and scary that you nix the trade? Could it just simply be a political comment after Boston has buyer’s remorse?
Billy Beane has told Harden, and Harden has told the media, that he will be making his scheduled start this Tuesday in Seattle. I wonder if there is still a chance another team looking for pitching takes a flyer on Harden for the remainder of the year, maybe the Yankees? Detroit? Cleveland? Arizona? We will see. Less than seven hours to go before the deadline.
For readers interested, today is my first day as the new “Sunday guy” over at Athletics Nation. My post there talks about Harden and how this non-trade encapsulates an entire season of things not ending up as we thought they would.