July 30, 2011 at 9:50 PM
UPDATE: The trade has reportedly fell through after Boston's medical staff reviewed Harden's medical records.
The Boston Red Sox will acquire pitcher Rich Harden from Oakland in exchange for first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later, in a deal to be made official on Sunday if Harden passes a physical.
Anderson was pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of Pawtucket's game Saturday night, fueling speculation he was involved in a trade. PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler confirmed that he received a call to pull Anderson from the contest during a postgame interview.
The oft-injured Harden is a veteran of nine major league seasons with the A's, Cubs, and Rangers. This season, he has made five starts since returning from a strained right shoulder on July 1, going 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA. The Sox may be looking favorably on Harden's last three starts - since shaking the rust off in his first two starts, he has gone 18.1 innings, giving up 12 hits and 8 walks while striking out 22 batters.
Anderson's present legacy in the Red Sox system is as the club's former number-one prospect who has not seemed to be able to reach his considerable promise, despite showing flashes. Anderson, who is originally from Oakland, peaked at number 19 on Baseball America's annuyal list of the top prospects in the game in 2009, also being named on that list in 2008 (40) and 2010 (87). This season, his struggles in Triple-A continued, as he hit .261/.362/.420 overall, but scuffled early before catching fire in July. This month, Anderson hit .296/.367/.571, hitting 6 of his 10 home runs and displaying some of the power that many projected him to develop during his greatest success in the lower parts of the minors.
Anderson's advanced plate approach has bordered on too passive, but always allowed him to post high walk totals and on-base percentages. He is at his best when driving the ball to the opposite field. While not a great first baseman defensively, Anderson worked hard to become about average at the position. He also gained a reputation as being one of the more intellectual players in the system, giving a number of interviews that strayed a bit off topic into things such as music and his annual cross-country drives back home at the end of the season.
In an interview following Pawtucket's game, Anderson kept his trademark sense of humor when asked about being pulled from the game. According to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, Lars' response: "I don't know man. There are rumors I didn't like my walk-up music and took myself out of the game."