Re: AP is reporting that Larkin is not coming back...
Princeton, I don't believe for a minute that Larkin would be pleased as a utility man on the Reds. He might accept that role elsewhere, but in Cincy he will simply whine every time he doesn't start.
I do think his presence has been a hindrence because every year it looks like he is the shortstop; no other starting shortstop is acquired; no young kid is given the position. Then Larkin gets hurt and the team is left with backups and minor leaguers. This is the pattern and it has to end.
If Larkin had turned himself into an outfielder, like Shawon Dunston did at the end of his career, it might make sense to carry him. He can still hit pretty well. But he just can't be the shortstop anymore, and that is his only position.
As for Castro, he is an entirely different player. He handles every infield position well. He is not an offensive player, but a veteran stopgap all over the field. I think he has value and wouldn't mind his return, although I wouldn't mind seeing Olmedo get a shot at Castro's role.
Whether the team is truly interested in 2005 remains to be seen.