The A’s interest in veteran shortstop Barry Larkin reflects their continued pursuit of middle-infield depth.
Larkin, 40, became eligible for free agency when the Cincinnati Reds refused to bring him back for a 20th season. The 1995 National League MVP and 12-time All-Star also has received feelers from Montreal/Washington and Philadelphia and is believed to be on Boston’s potential shopping list.
Larkin (above) said Wednesday that the A’s told his agent, Eric Goldschmidt, “that they were interested in me playing for them. At this particular time, I think I’d be interested in anything anybody would have to say.”
Rookie of the year Bobby Crosby’s presence at shortstop would probably force Larkin into a utility role, which Mark McLemore filled this year. Asked if he could accept being a backup, Larkin said, “It’s something I’m not opposed to trying, if that’s all that’s out there for me.”
A .295 career hitter who batted .289 in 111 games in 2004, Larkin might retire if he doesn’t find a comfortable fit.
With McLemore, 40, also pondering retirement, Mark Ellis launching a comeback from the shoulder injury that sidelined him this year and Crosby resting after a 151-game season that eroded his skills, the A’s could use a proven commodity even as a reserve. They tried to upgrade offensively over Marco Scutaro at second base during the season by targeting Philadelphia’s Placido Polanco and Houston’s Jeff Kent in trade talks.