Ten free minutes for me, 10 free throwaway lines for you ....
1. Surprised how many readers I hear from whose rebuilding the Red Sox blueprint includes significant roles in 2013 for Pedro Ciriaco and Jose Iglesias. Ciriaco is energetic and fast, but he also had a .560 OPS in 111 plate appearances beginning September 1, and he's 27 years old. He's an upgrade on Nick Punto, but not much more. As for Iglesias, his potentially golden glove is mesmerizing, but until he hits better than .251/.302/.287 in Triple A (let alone .135/.210/.203 in the bigs), his upside is nothing more than the next Willie Miranda/Ray Oyler/Mario Mendoza/Name Your Favorite Lousy-Hitting Shortstop Here. And that will get old faster than A-Rod.
2. I like John Smoltz as a broadcaster, but did I actually hear him say the other night that Justin Verlander could become the best of all-time? Verlander's best season so far was the amazing replica he put together last year of Roger Clemens's 1986 season, when the Tigers ace won the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards. His ERA+ was 172. Smoltz's former teammate, Greg Maddux, surpassed that number four times and had an insane ERA+ of 163 overall during his 11 years as a Brave. (And because I can't resist, Pedro Martinez's was 190 during his seven years with the Sox, and 154 overall.)
3. As much as would be great to still have Adrian Beltre here, you'd have to have Ted Williams's vision on your hindsight to suggest retaining him should have been their priority that offseason. He rebuilt his value here and departed, which seemed to be the plan all along. And Kevin Youkilis did have a .975 OPS that season.
4. One small blessing of the NHL lockout: It gives Nathan Horton just a little more time to make sure all of the clouds are gone.
5. Trading Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell goes down as a positive deal in my book -- sacrificing a briefly great young player for two players who were essential in winning a championship is the right thing to do. What I don't like about that deal isn't so much missing out watching Ramirez develop, but the sense that it emboldened Larry Lucchino as a talent evaluator.
6. If there's a funnier recurring bit on Boston radio than Toucher and Rich's "Goucher Goes To The Movies,'' please, let me know where to find it. Once hockey season returns, play-by-play voice Dave Goucher must find a way to work "And they're bringing out The Gimp!'' into his calls, possibly whenever the Bruins face the Canadiens.
7. Any Sox fans out there still interested in Nick Swisher? I've never been on that bandwagon -- he's covered with more mustard than any hot-dog in the league -- but his disappearing act this postseason and his thin-skin in dealing with some moronic Yankees fan (no, that is not an oxymoron) suggests going into right field in the Bronx while wearing a Red Sox cap might not be something he'd endure well.
8. I don't think it's a major problem, and I'm not about to portray him as Tony Eason here, because Tom Brady is as tough as hell. But anyone who says he isn't more wary of the rush and more prone to dodging shadows than he was before his knee surgery simply doesn't want to see it.
9. Can't be the only one wondering whether Derek Jeter's broken ankle was in part caused by his body's unfamiliarity with going to the left. (Too soon? It's never too soon!) In all seriousness, here's hoping he comes back as good as new as the Yankees' third baseman next year. Watching the Yankees in the postseason isn't the same without Jeter and Mariano Rivera around.
Since the final buzzer of Game 7 against the Heat, Danny Ainge has re-signed Kevin Garnett, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox and added Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, and Darko Milicic to a bench that was so decimated late last season that Ryan Hollins and Marquis Daniels had to play key minutes. It's an amazing bit of reloading, and related to that, those howls about Ainge's general manager skills seem to have finally subsided.
Also: Ainge hit .220 with a .533 OPS in the majors. Say, think Jose Iglesias can hit a jump shot?
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.