Red Sox acquire Rich Harden

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Red Sox acquire Rich Harden

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- By early evening, the dominoes were beginning to fall.

Erik Bedard failed his audtion Friday night at Safeco Field. Hiroki Kuroda told the Los Angeles Dodgers that, no, he wouldn't waive his no-trade clause.

And the Colorado Rockies, who had been attempting to play three teams -- the Red Sox, Yankees and Cleveland Indians -- off one another, finally got what they wanted from the Indians.

Time -- and options -- were running out for the Red Sox. So, in a bit of irony, the Sox, whose pitching depth has been thinned by injuries, have a trade in place that will net them Rich Harden - one of the least durable pitchers in the game.

The Sox Saturday night had an agreement in principle with the Oakland A's to get Harden for minor league first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later. Harden must first pass a physical before the deal is made official.

Harden has pitched parts of nine seasons in the big leagues, but only four times has he stayed healthy enough to make more than 20 starts.

He underwent surgery for a torn labrum in 2005; for a partially-torn cartilage in his shoulder in 2009; and has had a laundry list of ailments and injuries before and since.

But the Red Sox' reports on him this season were encouraging and there is the matter of his relationship with current Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young, who worked with Harden for some of his best seasons in Oakland.

Earlier this week, Young described Harden as having "Cy Young-quality" stuff when healthy.

The Sox can now start crossing their fingers.

Of course, this isn't a long-term investment. Harden is a free agent after the year, so there's little in the way of investment (he's being paid 1.5 million, meaning the Sox will assume about 500,000 for the rest of the way) or commitment.

They don't care about his track record or his durability issues in the past. What they need is about dozen starts between now and the end of the regular season, and perhaps a handful more in October.

He's doesn't have the ceiling that Jiminez has, but then again, he didn't cost anywhere near what the Colorado pitcher did. Cleveland gave up a total of four players, including two high-end prospects to get Jimenez.

For the Sox, that would have meant a package involving third baseman Will Middlebrooks and pitcher Anthony Ranaudo. That was too high a price to pay.

As for Bedard, he's been every bit as brittle as Harden, wtihout always being as competitive. And Friday's start in Seattle, in which Bedard showed poor command, was cause for concern.

If Clay Buchholz is indeed sidelined for a while, Harden gives the Sox more options in October. If he pitches well and stays healthy, he may be good enough to start Game 3 of the Division Series.

If he doesn't, then the Sox will have given up little more than a player whose path was blocked -- short- and long-term -- by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Little ventured, then. Health, irony of irony, will determine how much gained.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.