Sunday, November 25, 2001
Reds Q&A with John Fay
Fans wonder what's next for Larkin
The e-mail in-box was full of suggestions on what to do with Barry Larkin. One reader wants him to quit; another wants him to manage:
From Jack in South Carolina: As a longtime Reds fan and a staunch supporter of Barry Larkin, I believe he should make the 2002 season his last and go out with class rather than as a broken-down has-been. His skills and great talent have been diminished by the series of injuries he has suffered over the last several years. When the Reds signed an old, injury-prone shortstop to a long-term, multimillion-dollar contract, they did so out of emotional reasons. Sure Larkin has been loyal, but his glorious career is over. The Reds could have unloaded him four or five years ago and gotten a talented young player in return, but instead they gave millions to a player who cannot stay healthy and be an everyday player. Joe Nuxhall was certainly right. Larkin is finished. Keep him in a Reds uniform, but as a bench coach.
There's no way Larkin will retire before the Reds enter their new ballpark. If healthy, Larkin is still a very good player. And I see no reason why he can't get healthy and stay healthy. He played a career-high 161 games two years ago.
From Scott in Mount Union, Pa.: Any thought (or chance) of Barry Larkin becoming a player/manager someday?
I don't think the player-manager thing will happen, but Larkin will manage if he wants to. He'd make a good manager thoughtful, knows the game, speaks Spanish. The question is whether he wants to.
From Drew in Valparaiso, Ind.: I have reviewed the list of those attending Redsfest and read your answer you got from (Reds director of marketing) Cal Levy about Ken Griffey Jr. and Pokey Reese. I was wondering if you knew: 1. What Junior has against visiting with fans? 2. Why don't the Reds bring back more former Reds like from the 1961 team and such? 3. Has there been an update on who is attending?
Johnny Bench (Sat. only)
Ken Griffey Sr.
Jim O'Toole (Fri. only)
Wily Mo Pena
Chris Welsh (Fri. only)
Remember, Cal said Junior was still a maybe. Don't be surprised if he's at Redsfest for one of the two days (Dec.7-8 at the Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center). As for the '61 team, the ace of that team, Jim O'Toole, will be at Redsfest, along with the following former Reds: Johnny Bench (Saturday only), Tommy Helms, Chuck Harmon, Lee May, Todd Benzinger, Tom Browning and George Foster. (Redsfest details)
From Brian in Lexington, Ky.: I keep seeing the Reds' name come up as possibly trading for Carl Everett. Is there any truth to this? If so, why would the Reds bring a known cancer into their clubhouse. I know that Everett has some talent, but I think in his case that his behavior would far outweigh any benefits he would bring, and we are also pretty loaded in the outfield already.
Jim Bowden hasn't been returning phone calls this week, but when I asked him about Everett a couple weeks ago, he said the Reds had no interest in him.
From Sunil in Florida: When are we hiring the other coaches, and when will the Reds make moves to bolster this weak pitching staff?
The coaching moves could come at the winter meetings (Dec.9-14). As for the pitching, just as soon as they can.
From Tom in Philly: The Philadelphia Daily News mentioned that the Phillies may be willing to trade Scott Rolen to the Reds in exchange for Sean Casey and Aaron Boone. Is there any truth to this rumor? And why in the world would the Reds still consider trading Sean Casey, who in my opinion is the foundation of the Reds?
I wouldn't make that deal unless Rolen can win 17, 18 games as a pitcher. Rolen is not a huge upgrade over Boone and makes a lot more money. As for why the Reds would trade Casey: a) pitching, b) money.
From Ken in Louisville: If contraction becomes a reality, don't you think in the long term it will hurt the Reds? In the short term, the Reds can get some fine players in the dispersal draft. But in a few years, the Reds won't be able to re-sign them as free agents. It's the same problem that exists now. Then it seems the Reds (and Royals, etc.) might become the smallest of the small-market teams. What's next, contract these teams in 2008? What do you think?
I think, as the oldest franchise, the Reds are always safe. The best thing contraction does is improve the quality of play. You eliminate teams that probably shouldn't be in the big leagues in the first place.
John Fay covers the Reds for the Enquirer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include neighborhood or hometown.
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