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Trade Deadline: Red Sox wanted clause to protect against Rich Harden’s health

07.31.11 at 12:23 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Red Sox asked the Athletics for a clause built into the deal for Rich Harden contingent on the pitcher’s health. Oakland refused to accept such a deal, which could have potentially eliminated the player to be named later and left it with just first baseman Lars Anderson in the trade.

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Trade Deadline: Dodgers reportedly will get Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos from Cardinals for Rafael Furcal

07.31.11 at 11:46 am ET
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The Cardinals will send Double-A outfielder Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers for shortstop Rafael Furcal, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold reported Sunday.

Furcal has struggled in limited playing time this season for the Dodgers. He is batting .197 with just four doubles and a home run in 37 games. He has also struck out 21 times in 137 at-bats, only walking 11 times.

Castellanos, a right-handed hitter who will turn 25 on Aug. 4, is hitting .319 with Double-A Springfield. He is having his best power-hitting season to date, hitting 19 home runs with 62 RBIs. He has also hit 21 doubles and four triples, compiling a career-high .562 slugging.

The Cardinals may see Furcal as primarily a reserve shortstop and insurance policy. Ryan Theriot is the only shortstop currently on the Cardinals roster, batting .275 with a home run and 38 RBIs and playing in all 92 games this season. The Dodgers have two shortstops left after Furcal’s departure, with Jamey Carroll batting .294 with a .364 OBP.

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Trade Deadline: Braves get Michael Bourn from Astros

07.31.11 at 10:07 am ET
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According to multiple reports, the Astros have traded outfielder Michael Bourn to the Braves in exchange for Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. The Braves are scheduled to receive money in the deal, as well.

The 28-year-old Bourn leads the major leagues with 39 steals and is hitting .303 with a .363 on-base percentage. He will be entering his final year of entering arbitration-eligibility, making him eligible for free agency following the 2012 season.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline,

Trade Deadline: Blue Jays pursuing Rockies’ Chris Ianetta?

07.31.11 at 9:57 am ET
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Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun wrote Saturday that both the Blue Jays and Indians are interested in Rockies catcher Chris Ianetta.

Ianetta is batting .221 this season, with a .232 career average. He has shown some power in previous seasons, however, topping 15 home runs in two previous seasons. He is a .272 hitter with two home runs in eight career games against the other four teams in the AL East (not including Toronto). He has far more experience against the AL Central (20 games, not including Cleveland), but is just a .222 hitter with two home runs as well.

Toronto doesn’t appear to have the catching needs that Cleveland does. Cleveland’s catching duo of Carlos Santana and Lou Marson are a combined .230 this season, although Santana has 15 home runs. Toronto’s J.P Arencibia is a .221 hitter, but has 17 home runs. Backup Jose Molina has batted .313 in 33 games this season.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, chris iannetta, Cleveland Indians, colorado rockies

Rich Harden-to-Red Sox deal comes apart over medical issues

07.31.11 at 1:13 am ET
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CHICAGO — For much of Saturday evening, it seemed appropriate to start penciling Rich Harden into the Red Sox rotation. Numerous outlets, including WEEI.com, characterized the deal sending Rich Harden to the Red Sox for first base prospect Lars Anderson and a player to be named as all but done pending a physical.

However, late on Saturday night, the situation shifted abruptly.

Harden told reporters in Oakland that he was informed by A’s GM Billy Beane that a deal would not be made, and that Harden will make his next scheduled start for the A’s on Tuesday. A major league source confirmed that assessment, and it now appears unlikely that Harden will be shipping up to Boston. Indeed, the major league source suggested that the Sox are “not counting on” the deal getting done at all.

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.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, lars anderson, Rich Harden,

Trade Deadline: Ubaldo Jimenez trade to Indians made official

07.30.11 at 11:14 pm ET
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According to the Rockies’ official Twitter account, the deal sending pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for four minor leaguers is official. Heading to Colorado for the 27-year-old right-hander will be right-handed pitchers Alex White and Joe Gardner, along with infielder Mat McBride and a player to be named later.

The PTBNL is believed to be highly-thought of minor league pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who can’t be officially traded until a year after he signed his first professional contract (which came Aug. 15, 2010). The deal is contingent on Jimenez passing a physical.

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Trade Deadline: Cardinals to acquire Rafael Furcal

07.30.11 at 11:05 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Cardinals are on the verge of acquiring shortstop Rafael Furcal for a minor league outfielder and cash. The deal could not be completed until Furcal waived his 10-5 rights (10 years in the major leagues, five years with the same team), which allows a player the right to veto any trade. According to a tweet from SI.com’s Jon Heyman,

Furcal has accepted the trade to St. Louis. The 33-year-old Furcal was hitting just .197 in 37 games, and is in the final year of his contract (although there is a club option for $12 million for ’12).

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline,

Sunday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Andrew Miller vs. Mark Buehrle

07.30.11 at 10:32 pm ET
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Andrew Miller had his second rough outing in three starts Tuesday, allowing seven runs (five earned) on a season-high nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. He walked two batters and allowed a pair of home runs. Miller (4-1, 5.45) lasted just 2 2/3 innings in Tampa Bay July 15, allowing seven runs on five hits. His poor performance as of late is one of the reasons Boston was so actively pursuing starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda as the trade deadline approaches. Miller will look to get back on track Sunday as the Red Sox take on Mark Buehrle and the White Sox.

Buehrle (8-3, 3.22) has been the epitome of consistency this season. A six-inning performance Monday in which he did not allow an earned run, the hefty left-hander marked his 15th consecutive outing in which he surrendered no more than three earned runs. Buehrle has lasted at least six frames in all, but one of those starts. He’ll face a challenge in extending those streaks, as current Red Sox batters have hit Buehrle pretty well in their careers.

David Ortiz has arguably the best numbers against the Chicago starter of any Red Sox batter. Big Papi brings a .339 batting average, two home runs, nine double and 11 RBIs in 59 at-bats. Saying that, Jason Varitek, Carl Crawford, Marco ScutaroDustin Pedroia, Darnell McDonald and Jacoby Ellsbury all enter the game with higher batting averages than Ortiz. All of those hitters listed above, excluding McDonald have at least two extra-base hits against Buehrle as well. Mike Aviles, who may be making his Red sox debut, has two doubles and three RBIs in 31 career at-bats against the 12-year veteran.

White Sox batters have very little experience against Miller. Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who hit a two-run home run in Friday’s game, is 2-for-4 with a double against the sixth-year hurler. Speedy outfielder Juan Pierre enters the game 2-for-3 with a triple. Miller’s biggest foe, however, will likely be himself, as he has walked 17 batters in the last four games, while striking out only four.

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Read More: andrew miller, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, mark buehrle

Closing Time: Red Sox snap eight-game losing streak to White Sox, win 10-2

07.30.11 at 10:13 pm ET
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After losing eight straight games to the White Sox, the Red Sox finally were able put an end to that streak Saturday night as they won in Chicago, 10-2. Before Saturday’s game, the Red Sox had lost 11 of their last 12 and 14 of their last 16 to the White Sox, dating back to August of 2009.

After two hits and no runs through the first four innings, the Red Sox were able to get to White Sox starter Philip Humber (8-7) in the fifth when they erupted for four runs and chased him from the game.

That would be all the offense Red Sox starter Jon Lester (11-4) needed, as he went eight innings and looked to be back to his dominant self in his second start since returning from the disabled list because of a left latissimus strain. It was his first victory in exactly a month, since June 30 vs. the Phillies.

The Red Sox also added five runs in the top of the ninth inning to end any hope the White Sox had of coming back.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the 65th win of the year for the Red Sox:


‘€¢ The victory for Lester brought his record to 3-3 all-time against the White Sox. He had a 5.94 career ERA against Chicago entering the game. Lester went eight innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out eight. Lester’s eight strikeouts tied for the his third most in a game this season. He has done that on four other occasions. Lester entered Saturday fourth in the AL in strikeouts per nine innings, averaging 8.7 per game.

‘€¢ Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s double in the fourth inning extended his season-long hit streak to eight games, and he has now reached base in 30 of his last 32 games overall. He has three home runs and 10 RBIs during the eight-game stretch. His solo home run Friday night was the only run the Red Sox scored in the 3-1 loss to the White Sox.

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester,

Red Sox land Rich Harden for Lars Anderson, player to be named

07.30.11 at 10:02 pm ET
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CHICAGO — One by one, the dominoes started to fall.

On Friday, Erik Bedard had a terrible outing in his return from a knee sprain, retiring just four of the 11 batters he faced.

On Saturday, Hiroki Kuroda informed the Dodgers that he would not waive his no-trade clause, thus taking him off the market.

Also on Saturday night, reports had the Rockies and Indians closing in on a deal that would send starter Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland in exchange for prospects (a package headlined by left-hander Drew Pomeranz and also including right-hander Alex White), even as Jimenez — somewhat shockingly — took the mound for the Rockies against the Padres.

The group of desirable starters on the market dwindled rapidly, to the point where the Red Sox were left with few places to turn if they did indeed want to acquire an upgrade for their rotation — a matter that has become a somewhat pressing concern in recent days amidst the growing concern about the health of Clay Buchholz, out since mid-June due to a back injury, going forward.

And so, the Sox did not remain passive. Instead, as the Red Sox played the White Sox on Saturday night, the Boston front office was moving to acquire the best option remaining on the market in landing Athletics right-hander Rich Harden.

Harden has dealt with numerous injuries through his career that have limited to an average of 97 frames per season from 2005-10, a pattern that continued with a muscle strain under his right arm that kept him out for the first three months of this year. But when he is on the mound, he features legitimate top-of-the-rotation stuff. He has struck out more than a batter an inning throughout his career, including this year, when in five July starts he went 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29 1/3 innings. If indeed power pitching is at a premium in October, then Harden would represent the prototype option of the sort of pitcher whom teams like to feature in their rotation (albeit one who is 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in four postseason games).

In exchange for Harden, a major league source confirmed, the Red Sox sent first baseman Lars Anderson to the Athletics as part of a package that will also include a player to be named. Once the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system, Anderson has seen his stock drop in recent years as questions arose about whether his power did not develop.

This year, with Triple-A Pawtucket, Anderson was hitting .261 with a .362 OBP, .420 slugging mark and .782 OPS, along with 10 homers. However, he has recently experienced something of a power surge, hitting .296/.367/.571/.938 with six homers in July. And at the age of 23, Anderson’s advanced approach at the plate suggests that if he does develop power, he could be a fine option as a big league starting first baseman.

That opportunity was unlikely to come in Boston, however, given the deal that landed Adrian Gonzalez with the Red Sox during the offseason followed by the seven-year extension that will keep him in Boston through 2018. And with Anderson’s offense insufficient — at least right now — to forge a role as an everyday major league DH, he became a chip with whom the Sox could part.

While getting traded can prove shocking, for Anderson, the deal represents a homecoming. He hails from the Bay Area, having attended Jesuit High School in Sacramento. An 18th-rounder in the 2006 draft, Anderson actually was convinced to sign with the Sox in no small part due to his experience during a workout at the Athletics’ home ballpark in 2006.

Harden would appear to represent a rental player, since he is eligible for free agency after the season and he is unlikely to qualify for either Type A or Type B free-agent status, which would entitle the Sox to draft pick compensation if he turned down a potential Sox offer of salary arbitration.

Nonetheless, given the shape of the 2011 club — which harbors significant October ambitions — and the fact that Anderson did not represent a cornerstone prospect, it was a move that the Sox were willing to make.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, lars anderson, Rich Harden,
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