The Red Sox used their big budget to add pitching depth last winter, signing John Smoltz and Brad Penny for a combined $10.5 million.
Smoltz and Penny made just 22 starts between them in 2008, but that didn't stop the team from making its investment. Their talent made Boston comfortable with the risk that accompanied their spotty health histories.
Using the same logic, you would expect the Red Sox to have interest free agent Rich Harden this offseason. And you would be correct.
One major league source said Tuesday that the Red Sox are serious about pursuing Harden, who made more starts this year (26) than Smoltz and Penny combined in 2008.
The source indicated that the Red Sox have not yet offered Harden a contract.
The Cubs didn't offer salary arbitration to Harden prior to Tuesday's deadline, so teams can sign him without worrying about draft pick compensation. That should enhance the right-hander's value on the open market.
Harden, 28, has never thrown 200 innings in a season, but he has one attribute that would appeal to the Red Sox: He has had success in the American League, with a 36-19 record and 3.42 ERA in six seasons with the A's.
Harden went 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA this year � up from 2.07 in 2008. He didn't pitch after Sept. 16 because of what was described as fatigue in his throwing arm.