Remember the scene in The Godfather, Part II, where Robert Deniro travels back to Sicily to avenge his father's murder?  When he gets there, he finds a brokendown old man, confined to a chair, barely able to hear Vito say his name and the name of his father, Antonio Andolini.  Vito is unmoved by Don Ciccio's condition and runs him through with a knife.

This, thank God, is basically the course the Red Sox took with Jose Offerman today.  Nature had done 90 percent of the job on this utility cadaver, but the Sox refused to wait the two months for his contract - and presumably his ML career - to expire.

Offerman had the misfortune of being signed in the wake of Mo Gate, so the perception among the idiots was that he'd need to produce like the Hit Dog or be deemed a failure.  The problem was that Offerman never produced like the Offerman Dan Duquette thought he was signing.  In his final season in Kansas City, Offerman hit .315 with a .407 OBP and had 45 steals.  He hit .294 with a .395 OBP his first year with the Sox, but he stole only 18 bases.  He did, however, match his 1998 total in one category:  caught stealing.  That's right, though he had 27 fewer steal attempts, he still managed to get nailed 12 times, for an unacceptable 60 percent success rate.  But the most damning stat of all that first season - that thing we knew intuitively but didn't know how to quantify - was his fielding runs total of -29.  Baseball nerds John Thorn and Pete Palmer have concocted a complicated (lots of parentheses) but sound formula that yields how many runs a player saves or allows above or below league average with his defense based on his fielding range and fielding percentage.  We know the formula works because ranking Offerman at the bottom of the league's second basemen confirmed what our eyes had already told us.

Of course after that first season his offense went in the toilet too.  He became a zero-tool player.  He couldn't hit, hit for power, run, field or throw.  He was a 26-million dollar statue (or is it 28 with the buyout?) whose only use would be to stand at the plate for a rehabbing pitcher's simulated game.  In keeping with his "me first" rep, I never heard of Offerman volunteering for this duty, as Carlos Baerga has this year.  It's possible, I suppose, that Offy feared getting beaned by one of his own pitchers who'd watched him blow one too many DP pivots.

Dan Shaughnessy got in a little hot water earlier this year for referring to Offerman as "a piece of junk."  Presumably the complaints came from the Junkyard Defense League because, in truth, comparing a ruptured radiator hose to Jose Offerman is unfair.  Even a ruptured rubber hose has uses: beating Jose Offerman comes to mind.

Our final images of Jose will be a devastating caught stealing when he went on his own, trying to swipe third in a one-run loss to the Yankees;  and forgetting the number of outs and getting doubled off first with his team down five runs to the Orioles.  For people who cover the Sox, their lasting image of the 26-million dollar man will be shouting profanity and throwing clubhouse equipment, undoubtedly poorly.

A terrible defensive player who steals 31 bases in 58 attempts over four seasons and he blames the media on his way out the door.  I'll never forget the home crowd at Dodger Stadium and the Sox fans in attendance all booing in unison when this awful player came to the plate.  I guess we got lucky.  Dodger fans suffered with this guy for parts of six seasons, three of which he led the NL in errors, including 1995 when he played in only 119 games of a 144-game schedule.  We all know what Shaughnessy wanted to say.  What a piece of %&#!.

No talent.  No class.  To the bitter end.