A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
SS Larkin’s Career With Reds Appears To Be Over
CINCINNATI, OHIO—-Barry Larkin’s career with the Cincinnati Reds apparently has come to an end.
Cincinnati president John Allen held a news conference at Great American Ball Park, Monday night and announced that the veteran of 17 full seasons has rejected a one-year contract with a base salary above the major league minimum on Saturday.
The deal would have included incentives that would double the base salary. The deal was rejected by Larkin’s agent, Eric Goldschmidt.
“At the time I made the offer on Saturday the response was a pretty solid, no,” said Allen. “They did not feel it was an economic contract they could accept.”
Larkin’s 2003 contract, worth $9 million dollars, expires at the end of this season.
“On Monday, I called Barry’s agent back and extended basically the same offer which he declined,” Allen said Monday evening.
“I then held a conversation with Barry Larkin this afternoon and explained where we were at and reiterated the contract to him.
“He also declined. He had an opportunity to, I understand, to visit with Mr. (Carl) Linder to talk about the terms of the contract.
There were no changes coming from the terms or our original offer.”
Linder, the majority owner and managing general partner of the club, insisted that the Reds offer Larkin a three-year contract extension worth $27 million late in the 2000 season. The extension followed Larkin’s rejection of a trade made by former general manager Jim Bowden that would have put the shortstop in a Mets uniform.
Larkin is a native of the Queen City and played several sports at Moeller High School. He replaced seventeen-year veteran, David Concepcion as the Reds starting shortstop.
Larkin currently is spending his third stint on the 15-day disabled list this season, suffering from a torn tendon in his left middle finger.
It marks the 13th time in his career that Larkin has missed significant time with an injury.
Larkin hasn’t played since August 23rd and has appeared in just 70 games in 2003. His .282 batting average is the highest it’s been since he posted a .313 mark in 102 games in 2000.
“There is no doubt about what Barry Larkin has meant to this organization, meant to this city,” Allen added. “His performance speaks for itself. Barry Larkin on and off the field, is a class person.
I don’t know how else to phrase it.
Allen would not discuss the terms the team offered but Larkin told several sources that it was $500,000.
The club wanted to give Larkin the opportunity to have a “Barry Larkin Day” with just six games left in the season.
“Certainly we wanted give Barry the opportunity were we be unable to reach terms or he wasn’t coming back, whatever the end result was going to be for the fans to give him a Barry Larkin Day,” Allen said. “Barry and his agent both declined that offer.”
Larkin indicated that he would be in uniform during the last week of the season and going about his business. He also indicated to Allen that he wanted to play somewhere in 2004. Larkin was named Most Valuable Player in 1995 and, in 1996, became the first shortstop to hit 30 or more home runs and steal 30 or more bases in the same season. He is also the last Red remaining from the 1990 World Championship team that swept heavily favored Oakland.