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Boston Red Sox Steal Rich Harden From Oakland Athletics In Best Trade Deadline Deal

The Boston Red Sox may have silently pulled off the best deal of the MLB trade deadline, unless the player to be named later is significant. That’s because the pieces of the trade between the Red Sox and Athletics is one-sided with what we know now. In the reported deal, the A’s are sending Rich Harden to the Red Sox for minor league 1B Lars Anderson.

On the surface, Anderson seems a good catch. He’s been among Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects the last three seasons. He was No. 87 coming into the 2010 season, but he’s been lackluster both in 2010 and 2011 at the AAA level. Certainly he’s put up serviceable numbers with .261/.362/.420 line this year that’s nearly identical to last year, but it’s not a cornerstone first baseman like you’d expect.

With almost 1,000 at bats at the AAA level, it’s clear that Anderson is not the bright future first baseman that everyone believed him to be back in 2009. And now that Adrian Gonzalez is firmly established as the BoSox cornerstone player, Anderson simply has no place to go in Boston. So in essence, Theo Epstein flipped a player he couldn’t use anyway for a guy who is one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball — health issues or not.

The Red Sox just acquired a dangerous arm for their postseason rotation in exchange for some AAA fare once celebrated. That’s an incredible trade any way you slice it, so here’s believing the A’s are getting something substantive later on with this one. For now, it’s an absolute steal.