Between Branyan and Larson, the Reds have a choice to make. I don't think Boone will be SS in 2003, as Larkin and his contract will be the starter. (With good reason, as Larkin is still the bellweather cow to the offensive pasture in Cincinnati.)
With Pena and Mateo out of options after 2002, the real battle will be between Larson and Branyan as backup corner infielder and OF. That, IMO, is what they are battling for this season.
If Bowden is able to deal Walker, Casey, or Boone, both guys would be surer bets to stay with the Reds. However, a trade involving Casey is unlikely, a deal involving Boone is almost impossible, and Walker is less likely to be wanted than many other free agent second sackers. (In fact, it could be argued that, because of the new collective bargaining agreement that may take place, Walker's salary could be higher than a better player like Kent or Alfonzo, though that is almost as unlikely as a Boone deal.)
As it is, I would argue that BBoone and Bowden are in favor of keeping Branyan. He's LH, he's got more pop (as evidenced by his major and minor league numbers), and he has shown the ability to play numerous positions well enough to be a back-up.
Allen and Lindner would probably side with Larson, as he is cheaper and comes from the Cincinnati farm system. Actually, Larson should be quite a bit cheaper, as Branyan is at least close enough to arbitration to make front office personnel nervous.
Is Branyan a great hitter? No. But he does produce when given a chance. And that's more than any Reds bench guy since Jeffery Hammonds and Alex Ochoa. In fact, he reminds me a bit of Hammonds in that he is a "failed" uber-prospect that stuck out too much with his former team. If he could play CF... Well, no one's perfect.
My choice is to go with Branyan, as he has a track record and is more likey to improve as he comes into his prime. Too, I like his LH stick and his speed is a bit better than Larson's. He also seems to come through in the clutch an inordinant number of times. Or at least he has since his trade to Cincinnati.