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:
Branyan (once he gets healthy) (3b)
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.