Red Sox have interest in A’s right-hander Rich Harden

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The Red Sox entered Sunday’s action with the best record in the American League (60-37), good enough for first place in the always-tough AL East. They boast baseball’s most dangerous batting order, and have been getting strong pitching in spurts.

But starting pitching depth has been a weakness for most of the season. And the Red Sox are aiming to correct that at this year’s trade deadline.

According to Peter Gammons, who now works for MLB.com and the MLB Network, the Boston front office has inquired recently about the availability of Oakland right-hander Rich Harden.

Harden, 29, has a 23/8 K/BB ratio since returning from the disabled list in early July and held the Yankees to two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings Saturday in a 4-3 A’s victory. Injuries have held him back since his breakout early tenure with the Athletics, but the native of Canada still owns a cool 3.66 career big-league ERA.

Yankees trade Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell to the Padres for Jabari Blash

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The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report the trade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Blash was coming back in return.

Headley, a third baseman, hit .273/.352/.406 for the Yankees last year. He, of course, played for the Padres from 2007 through the middle of 2014, when he was dealt to New York. Mitchell has pitched 48 games for the Yankees, most from the pen, over four seasons, with an ERA of 4.94 in 98.1 innings. He doesn’t strike out many and he walks a lot. He throws hard.

Blash, an outfielder, has hit .200/.323/.336 with eight homers in 279 big league plate appearances. Blash has shown a lot of power potential in the minors, but has not yet put it together in the bigs. Given what the Yankees have in their outfield at the moment, he’s going to be organizational depth or, perhaps, a chit in a future trade.

This would seem to be an exercise in salary clearing by the Yankees in anticipation of another move, as it takes about $13 million off of their payroll. Which is about how much was added to their payroll for 2018 in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. That could get Todd Frazier back for them, perhaps. Or it could help them retain CC Sabathia or go after another starting pitcher. The club likewise maintains an interest in getting under the $197 million payroll threshold which would trigger yet another year of 50% luxury tax payments for the Yankees.