BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 13: Infielder Lars Anderson #78 of the Boston Red Sox rounds the bases after his home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at McKechnie Field on March 13, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Nope, not R.A. Dickey. That would have been some sort of deadline deal.
But the Red Sox have done the next-best thing, at least when it comes to knuckleball pitchers: Tuesday, the Red Sox traded minor-league first baseman Lars Anderson to the Cleveland Indians for 27-year-old knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Anderson once ranked among the best hitting prospects in the minors, and first reached the majors in 2010. But he's gotten little action in the majors, and meanwhile his hitting in the minors has fallen off. This year with triple-A Pawtucket, Anderson's batted just .259/.359/.415 in 91 games, but he's still just 24 and might rebound.
Wright was a second-round draft pick by the Indians in 2006, but turned to the knuckleball in 2011 when it seemed his career had stalled despite his low-90s fastball. Wright has spent this season in Class AA, and sports a 2.49 ERA in 20 starts but has a subpar 1.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which suggests he's still got a lot of work to do.
Still, the Red Sox have shown an interest in knuckleballers before -- Tim Wakefield, of course, but also Charlie Zink -- so it shouldn't be surprising that they're interested in seeing if Wright can refine his curious pitch. Perhaps using Dickey as a hard-throwing template.