Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a complaint and or rant.
We're two full seasons, and 19 games into a third removed from experiencing the Gold Standard @ SS for the Cincinnati Reds. A few of you may remember him, heck, you may even own a jersey with his name on it, or perhaps have a baseball card of his around the house or office somewhere. The player in question: Barry Larkin.
Reds fans have seen the likes of Rich Aurilia, William Bergolla, Juan Castro, Royce Clayton, Felipe Lopez, Ray Olmedo, Brandon Phillips and now Alex Gonzalez man the SS position since Larkin. None have even come remotely close to duplicating his unique skillset of being both an offensive threat, while providing solid defense (at least up to probably 2001 for this one).
Currently, we have a glove man, with range, in Alex Gonzalez, who probably won't OPS much North of .700. Unfortunately, to compensate for the lack of offensive production, Gonzalez will need to win a Gold Glove at SS, or be a close runner up for many to feel that he's "earned" his money and "helped" the team. There's a lot of baseball left in 2007, so this remains to be seen.
Prior to Gonzalez, the above cast of characters honestly on some level left most of us missing Barry Larkin, the future HOF, and what he brought to our Reds. Only perhaps Brandon Phillips could offer superior defense at SS, but IIRC, we've only seen him play in a lackluster 3 games in 2 positions, and none of them starts, only as parts of double switches.
Where am I going with this? We currently have 1 player on the roster that shares something with Larkin, that being drafted and developed by the Reds. That player: Adam Dunn. While Larkin played from 1986 through 2004 for our Reds, Adam Dunn has a long way to go to match Larkin's contribution in longevity.
Here's to hoping the Reds get to enjoy another "Larkin" with Adam Dunn, and hopefully realize the future of potential "Larkins" in Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey.
Thank you Barry for spoiling us for all those years at SS. I know this Reds fan misses you greatly.