Did Sox and Superagent Work the Rules?

Would Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and superagent Scott Boras work the very edges of the rules to net J.D. Drew and did they? Sure they did. Did they do anything they will get caught for? Probably not. Is there widespread hints of collusion and chicanery? It seems so.

Epstein, the former boy wonder who quit and then returned a year ago, so far has his career tied up in the Boras client they laid out $51 million just to get to talk to, a Japanese pitcher who may never pitch in Fenway Park.

Then Epstein couldn't figure out a way to dump Manny Ramirez -- even to the Dodgers who actually wanted him (at least the owner from Boston and the manager from Boston).

Epstein was having about as bad a winter as a GM could have. Then came Boras riding to the rescue. Boras is a lawyer. Look up lawyer in Websters and you will get ah well, it's better left unsaid in polite company. (You will remember what old Billy Shakespeare said to do first with the lawyers).

Then, to put some more icing on Epstein's cake, Boras repeated the advice and delicate player handling of one Julio Lugo, who suited up for half a season with the Dodgers but did nothing memorable other than stink up the joint.

Of course, Boras helped Greg Maddux move down the road to the Dodgers closest and toughest opponent, the San Diego Padres.

Would you begin to get the idea Boras has not done any favors for the Dodgers lately? Would you also begin to get the idea Boras is not exactly the Dodgers favorite person these days?

In movies and books, the big time bandits and thieves say "it ain't personal, it's just business." Well, if you think it is just business between Boras and the Dodgers, I have a "Get Out of Iraq Plan by Talking With the Iranians" to sell you.

Now the Dodgers really don't need the help of Scott Boras to screw up. They are proving quite nicely they can do it on their own dime.

The Dodgers have picked up five household names for the 2007 squad. Schmidt, Wolf, Pierre, Gonzalez and Lieberthal.

Schmidt, although he has not gone on the DL, has lost a bunch of starts with various ailments. Wolf is coming back from two injury years. Lieberthal has been often hurt.

Gonzo is 39 years old, a better age for a Congressman than a big league ballplayer, and Pierre would need a total arm transplant to be a complete outfielder (old Red Schoendienst, once hurt, trained himself to become a left handed thrower, quite a feat for a right handed second baseman).

The millions the Dodgers will play this quintet are very real and come due on the first and 15 of every month regardless of whether the five are able to play, much less play well.

The chances of all five playing at any one given time are about as good as an Islamic peace agreement holding up for more than a week.

If you were either an insurance company actuary or a turf accountant, aka bookmaker, you would not even post odds or be willing to write insurance policies on the following:

Jeff Kent plays 45 days without a leg injury.

Ditto Nomar Garciaparra.

Schmidt makes 10 consecutive starts.

Wolf makes five starts where he lasts more than six innings before the all star break.

Juan Pierre is able to do anything with the baseball after he gets to it.

Luis Gonzalez improves on his 15 homers of 2006.

Grady Little stops using fly ball Brett Tomko with men on in the 6th and 7th inning.

The Dodgers are beginning to look like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, a touch musty. Tuxedo Tommy looks for all the world like Erich Von Stroheim, the tuxedoed butler/chauffeur. James Loney is cast as William Holden, the bright young man amused by it all but generally relegated to sideline observer.

Lawyer/agents do not have to break any laws. They can skirt just this side of propriety and do just about what they want.

Heck, there's even a entrepreneurial type or two out there who are tempted to offer Sammy Sosa or Juan Gonzelez to the Dodgers. They can always bring back Ramon Mondesi.

Fernando Valenzuela had to have the fleeting thought playing in the Mexican winter league with his son that maybe HE was still a big league pitcher.

Last year, GM Colletti got a very late start, no fault of his own. He had an excuse. This year, he has had no such excuse. He was on his own time and own dime. It is however fair to ask the question if the Dodgers have truly improved.

Money won't decide the question. Neither will names. Wins and losses will. Wins come from pitching and defense. Has the defense improved with age? Has the bullpen improved? If so, how?

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