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Which prospects did A’s want in Rich Harden deal?

09.16.11 at 5:38 am ET
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According to multiple major league sources, Red Sox pitching prospects Raul Alcantara and Brandon Workman were among the players on a list from which the A’s would choose a player to be named in the deal that would have brought starter Rich Harden to Boston just before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Sox and A’s agreed to a deal that would have brought Harden to the Sox in exchange for first baseman Lars Anderson – formerly the top Red Sox prospect, but now a player whose path to the majors in Boston has been blocked by the presence of Adrian Gonzalez — and a player to be named. The player to be named would have come from a list presented to the A’s that featured players in the lower minors who represented lottery tickets with potentially significant upside.

That description fits Alcantara particularly well. The 18-year-old, whom the Sox signed out of the Dominican for $500,000 in 2009, is a hard thrower who dominated the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League (0.75 ERA, 36 strikeouts, 6 walks) this year before a promotion to Lowell, where he struggled (6.23 ERA in four starts) against much older competition. Alcantara is regarded as one of the more projectable young pitchers in the Sox’ system.

Workman, meanwhile, was a second-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2010 who signed for an $800,000 bonus. He spent all of 2011 in Single-A Greenville, going 6-7 with a 3.71 ERA, 115 strikeouts and 33 walks in 131 innings.

The deal for Harden collapsed when the Sox reviewed the pitcher’s medicals and became convinced that he would not be able to remain healthy down the stretch. To date, Harden has defied the Sox’ expectations, making eight starts since the trade deadline, going 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA, 53 strikeouts and 19 walks in 44 1/3 innings. The A’s did give him three extra days of rest prior to his most recent start on Sept. 14, but otherwise, he has managed to take his regular turn over the last six-plus weeks.

Read More: Brandon Workman, raul alcantara, Rich Harden,
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