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Thread: Introducing the New 2B of the Reds: Aaron Boone

  1. #46
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    But Lopez is really a SS, no? And who says Boone is a natural 3b?

    As it currently stands the canidates for the infield (ignoring 1b) are:

    Lopez (SS/2b/3b)
    Boone (3b/2b)
    Larkin (ss/2b)
    Larson (3b/2b?)
    Branyan (once he gets healthy) (3b)
    Gookie (ss/2b)
    Castro (ss/2b)

    If Larson is good enough to play 2b they can leave Larkin at SS and Boone at 3b with Lopez as the utility player (mostly subbing for Larkin). The downside is that Branyon is relagated to 1b/of/ph duties. This likely falls apart because Larson can't handle 2b.

    If Lopez could win the starting SS job, Larkin could move to 2b (assuming he is willing) and Boone stays at 3b. Castro/Gookie becomes the utility infielder and steps in a 2b when Larkin sits. The alternative is to shift Boone to 2b on those occasions to make room for Larson/Branyon at 3b. So Boone ends up playing out of position 20-30 % of the time anyhow.

    If Lopez wins the 2b job, Larkin stays at SS and Boone stays at 3b, Castro/Gookie again become the untility middle infielder stepping in at SS when Larkin sits. Again the alternative is to shift Boone to 2b, Lopez to SS and put Branyon/Larson at 3b.

    The last scenerio is the one Bowden is thinking about. If Boone can handle 2b duties then he becomes the perminent 2b. Lopez becomes the utility infielder and Larson/Branyon share the 3b job. When Larkin sits, Lopez plays SS. If Lopez hits well enough perhaps he forces his way into the 3b mix.

    Either scenerio 1 or 4 provides a nice segway into 2004 (assuming no personal changes) Larkin goes away, Lopez steps into the starting SS role but Boone and Larson return at their 2003 positions. Of course this is assuming that one of Larson/Branyon will be adequete both offensively and defensively.

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  3. #47
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    That's still an awful infield, shell game or no.

  4. #48
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    This is the question I keep turning over in my head: Are the Reds convinced Brandon Larson's going to be an impact player so they're creating room for him OR is this a desperate attempt to deploy the team's limited talent?

    That ESPN Insider piece treats it like the former, but it bears all the earmarks of the latter.

    Personally I'd prefer to see the Reds grab a guy like Marlon Anderson to play 2B.

  5. #49
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    Originally posted by Biitner Pill
    If Boone can make the pivot (a huge if, BTW), he's Bobby Grich with more speed.
    Not to hijack a thread, but let's not get carried away. IMHO, Grich is a borderline hall-of-famer, and Aaron Boone has never shown any sign that he can hit in his league.

    -Grich career .371 on base % in a non-hitter's ERA; Boone .333 career OBP and .356 in his best year (2000) in a huge hitter's era
    -Grich 4 gold gloves at 2b; Boone zero
    -Grich 12th best 2nd baseman in history, according to Bill James
    -Only one non-active player ranked ahead of Grich in Total Baseball's player ranking is not in the Hall of Fame (Joe Jackson)
    -Baseball Prospectus: Grich 126.7 wins above replacement in 17 years; Boone 18.1 wins above replacement in 6 years
    -Grich had the guts to try and pick a fight with Earl Weaver, when Weaver pinch hit for him early in his career; Boone allegedly listens to boy bands like N'Sync

    But getting back to the idea of Boone at 2nd - I like it. If Boone MIGHT be able to play 2B, we have to take the chance to find out if he can. Because middle infielders with power give a team a huge competitive advantage.

    Here's how I see it shaping up. Larson gets to audition in the starting lineup and Boone gets to audition at 2B, while Branyan heals. If it works out, great. If Boone doesn't adjust well to 2B, but Larson DOES play well, then we trade Boone for a 2B. If Boone does play well at 2B, but Larson reverts to his pre-2001 form, then Branyan/Lopez can platoon at 3B. I'm always in favor of outside-the-box ideas, and while I'm not wild about Aaron as a hitter, I've never doubted his athletic ability. Plus, he's plenty enough hitter for 2B to actually give us a competitive advantage there.
    ". . . acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect. I do it in a second . . . The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter . . . trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer." - Paul Daugherty, Feb. 8, 2008

  6. #50
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    If the Reds wanted an impact player at 3b (or, heck, anywhere in the IF), they should have dealt for Rolen.

    Add me to the list of folks concerned about Aaron Boone in the pivot over 162 games given his history of injuries.

    And if the Reds are going with an IF defense of Larson/Branyan(3b), Larkin (SS), Boone (2B), and Casey (1B), I think it becomes imperative to keep LaRue's arm behind the plate. As long as Larkin stays healthy, he'll be able to get by with his positioning, etc. But Larson, Branyan & Casey aren't exactly fleet of foot, and Boone will have a lot of ground to cover at a new position. Look for more balls scooting through the IF, resulting in more opposing base runners...

  7. #51
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    I've been trying to decide if this is a good move, and have come to the conclusion that while I don't think it is a terrible move, it is a bad move nonetheless.

    Based on Lopez' numbers at AAA Syracuse, the guy is ready to be challenged. This does not happen playing in Louisville. If the team is determined to play Larson and Branyan at third then Aaron should be traded. Lopez has, from what I've read, a good glove, and a pretty decent bat right now, with good power potential. I'm more interested in good glove work behind our pitching staff. Face facts: neither Colon or Vasquez is coming to town. Our staff is what it is, which is another topic. But the defense bhind that rotation should be the best possible for the reds. If Larkin won't move to second or to supersub status, Then Lopez is the best candidate for second base. Between Kearns and Dunn, plus a healthy Casey and Junior added to a consistent year from Boone, the offense should be pretty scary. While this flies in the face of the OPS worshippers, I'll take the reduced offense for some stellar defense. Ozzie smith at his best offensively couldn't touch Miguel Tejada's OPS. But I'd rather have the wizard.

    The best infield for the reds barring a trade is:
    Casey 1B
    Lopez 2B
    Larkin SS
    Boone 3B

    If Larkin agrees to a supersub role:
    Casey 1B
    Gookie 2B (yes... Gookie)
    Lopez SS
    Boone 3B

    Non-tender Castro, and eat his contract. Gookie can do what castro does defensively, and has more range. Plus it allows him to develop a little at the major league level. When people rant about Bowden abusing young pitchers, I should point out he abused Gookie in 2001(?) when Larkin was hurt.

    just my two cents.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  8. #52
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    It seems to me that this is only a PR move designed to cover up the real issue that a no legitimate plan was in place to replace Todd Walker. This is a blantant attempt to put a positive spin on a major foul-up.

    Boone may be OK at 2B, but I have serious questions about Brandon Larson's abilities as an everyday player. He may have had eye surgery, and while he was obviously better than his 2001 ML stint, he still didn't exactly set the world on fire at the ML level after he came up last year. 51 AB's isn'y much of a sample size.

    I suppose for all the folks who question the Reds' public relations department, you gotta admit they gave it the ole' college try. But I don't see a serious fan buying this.
    Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one, and they don't want someone else's shoved into their face.

  9. #53
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    Non-tender Castro, and eat his contract. Gookie can do what castro does defensively, and has more range. Plus it allows him to develop a little at the major league level. When people rant about Bowden abusing young pitchers, I should point out he abused Gookie in 2001(?) when Larkin was hurt.---TRF
    I've written similar words in the past myself, TRF. You can't 'non-tender Juan because he already has a contract, but you can cut him. While it would be unpalitable for the Reds, eating Castro's contract would allow the Reds to keep Gookie (who at least has potential). It's likely that someone would pick up JC's contract for the league minimum (with the Reds paying the balance) so, with Gookie making only slightly more than the minimum, the thing is pretty much a wash.

    And, I also thought that calling up Gookie and then setting him on the bench when Larkin was hurt was a major turning point in Gookie's development.

    Rem

  10. #54
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    I brought up this point in another thread concerning Larson. Second base requires an entirely different skill set than third. Second requires footwork and range, while third is more about fast hands and a strong arm. I actually think that Boone has more of the skill set for 2B. I think he will be a better second baseman than third baseman.

    BTW, who comes up with this crap:
    Aaron Boone's primary challenge in his new role will be learning the double-play pivot -- the subtlety that separates elite second basemen from ordinary ones, the element that makes second base the game's most difficult position to play, in the minds of many experts.
    Any "expert" who considers 2B the most difficult position to play has never played a game of baseball in their life.

  11. #55
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    I think Boone can be average at 2B. I want excellent. That's probably Lopez or Dawkins at this point. A big reason for the success of the '99 team was Pokey's defense at 2B.
    Suck it up cupcake.

  12. #56
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    1) I have heard a lot of "experts" talk about Larson in the same ilk as Dunn or Kearns in regards to the Reds producing quality hitters. Larson hit all year last year, whether it was AAA or Majors. He has done EVERYTHING to deserve a shot at real playing time, not a platoon.

    2) Branyan is out for a month or so, this move gives Larson a legitimate lengthy chance to grab the fulltime job and if he doesn't he can platoon with Branyan.

    3) When Larson was killing the ball in AAA last year and Walker was struggling, many of us talked about making this exact move. If I remember right, many folks thought at that time that Aaron Boone would make an above average 2B at the plate, while he remained an average or below average 3B. In fact, I think Boone could be a poor mans Jeff Kent. I think he has the bat and the skill to be adequate defensively right away and maybe good longterm.

    4) The ability to play 2B, SS and 3B can only increase Boone's worth, making his trade value higher. Since Boone is a viable trade option over the next year or two, that seems like a very good thing.

    I like this move. I think it helps the reds in 2003 and longterm. Kind of surprised it came from the Reds.

  13. #57
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    When we were talking about acquiring Neffi Perez earlier, I said there was no way the Reds could compete with Castro - who is difficult to trade for obvious reasons - Gookie Dawkins - who is out of options - Neffi Perez - who hits just a little better than Castro - on the 25 man roster with Larkin starting at SS. Substitute Lopez for Perez and I feel the same way. Gookie and/or Castro are going to have to be traded or released. JimBo can't keep all these middle IFers and all his 5 tool OFers on the 25 man roster.

    As for Aaron playing 2nd and Brandon playing 3rd, I have more misgivings about Aaron making the switch than Brandon's defense at 3rd. I don't think Brandon is going to make anyone forget Brooks Robinson. Although he did play SS in college, his coach's philosophy was not to put the best defensive player at SS. I actually saw Aaron play 2nd in his 2nd major league game. It was only for a few innings and I don't remember him being either outstanding or horrible so it's not like he's going into this switch without any experirence at all. I know this will be tough for the Boone Bashers to remember but he is switching positions because the front office asked him to. And he is doing this to help the team so give him a little honeymoon at 2nd if he screws up a relay or has other growing pains there.
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  14. #58
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    I think that moving Boone to 2B is the best option for the Reds at this time. I don't necessarily like Aaron, but I do feel he has improved the last couple years both on offense and defense, and he has done an admirable job despite the critisism of his father being the manager, which has to be a distration for him. IMO, Larson needs at least a try as an everyday player this year. He had a great year with the bat last year, and if there was ever a time to push someone into the starting lineup immediately, I feel this is the time for Larson. So, you need to get Boone and Larson into the lineup full time. Who plays 3B, who plays 2B? The decision for Aaron to move to 2B is the best one IMO. He has the body size, the range, and the experience to be make the move. Larson doesn't have the experience, the range, or the body size like Aaron. The lack of experience is a big one for me. You are already exposing the guy to his first full time gig in the majors, don't force him to learn a new position on top of that, make it as simple as you can on him. I liked reading this column from Aaron as well:

    Aaron Boone, who was in Cincinnati for a physical Monday, met with Bowden to discuss the shift. Bob Boone participated by phone.

    Aaron Boone said he will do offseason preparation, including working with his older brother Bret Boone, the American League's Gold Glove second baseman. Reds position players are due in training camp Feb. 18 in Sarasota, Fla.

    ``I feel good about it,'' Aaron Boone said. ``Long term, I'm confident I can do well there.''

    So, Aaron is open to the change and is actually taking it on as a challenge to improve the team in some way. He has a gold glove second baseman to learn from in his own family, so it might not appear to be as much work to learn the new position. They will have very open communication and Bret will teach him some important things, and will be able to get his point across as only brothers could. That means, IMO, that the learning curve won't be as great. Aaron will pick up on things much faster having Bret help him as opposed to a coach teaching Larson.

    In sum, I think this is the best decision the Reds have made to date this offseason.
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  15. #59
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    it opens up a position for Matt Boone, eh?

    (who, BTW, is an obvious candidate for the same position shift)

  16. #60
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    I think Aaron can make the transition, in terms of range, but it's a stretch to say that a guy can play second because he's athletic. The pivot is artwork, and it's tough to start learning it over night. And, for a guy who already had reconstructive knee surgery once, I'm a little concerned about putting him there next to a shortstop who's range and quickness aren't what they used to be. In my mind, that may translate into a lot more bang-bang pivots, a danger for any experienced second sacker, and downright scary for one who hasn't spent years getting out of the way of baserunners.

    On the other hand, maybe playing second base will change his mindset at the plate. I always thought he had the potential to hit more like a modern second baseman than a third baseman.
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