Larkin concerned for Schott, team

Sunday, October 25, 1998

BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[larkin]
Barry Larkin
Shortstop Barry Larkin, the heart and soul of the Reds, is concerned about his ballclub and Managing General Partner Marge Schott.

"(The announcement) does kind of throw a wrench into things simply because we don't know who's going to be controlling the strings," Larkin said. "Do we stay where we were last year? Do we continue to reduce payroll or do we add?"

Schott has agreed to entertain offers to sell her controlling interest in the team by Dec. 31. Major League Baseball is keeping Managing Executive John Allen in charge until she sells.

MLB is confident that Schott will find a buyer by the end of the year. If not, the issue will be revisited in January, at the which time Allen's power will be extended.

MLB can still use the General Motors' case against Schott to extend Allen's power through the Dec. 31, 2000, expiration of the Reds' limited partnership.

"The next step is, "What

does John Allen do if new ownership isn't in place?" Larkin asked. "What does he do with the budget or payroll?"

Allen tried to soothe some fears Saturday, saying the club will continue "business as usual," still emphasizing the young, cheap youth movement he ushered in June 12, 1996. Allen said the Reds won't be "pro-active," in the free-agent market, but he also said the club has yet to settle on a payroll figure for 1999 that's bigger or smaller than the $23 million spent in 1998.

"There isn't a mandate to cut it back, but it could go backwards if we've got a chance to get some great young players for dumping salary," Allen said. "There's not only the big-league payroll to worry about, but we also want to keep putting money into player development."

Reds General Manager Jim Bowden said in the wake of Schott's announcement the team's blueprint is unchanged.

Bowden did say the Reds are going to continue to emphasize player development until the team gets a new stadium in 2003.

Larkin said he didn't want to even touch the subject of asking for a trade before his contract runs out in 2000: "I would like to be winning before 2000."

Larkin was more concerned about Schott's welfare.

"I hope Marge is comfortable with this decision," Larkin said. "I'm basically thinking about her now. We all know how much baseball means to her and how much she loves going to the stadium. I hope she's OK."


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