PCB: Hello friends, despite your best efforts, you have stumbled into another episode of the acclaimed argument show, Pardon The Indigestion. I'm PhilCoke'sBrain ...
HS: And I'm ... really, really sorry for what's about to happen here.
PCB: Let's get right to it. Here's the first question from the producer of the loud speaker!
Should "grit" replace one of the five tools? If not grit, what should? Being a blue collar player, a winner, or a dirt bag?
PCB: This question has come up mostly in relation to a Mr. Steve Lombardozzi. The Nationals organization and media has trumpeted this guy as a candidate to unseat Don Kelly as the Heart and Hustle award winner. Don't you need a guy or two like this? Someone to get dirty for you? Fan nerd boys only want numbers these days. People would look at you funny if you only described your girlfriend by telling them her measurements. Grit should not be one of the five tools, but there should be a sixth tool. A combination of Want, Intensity, Passion, and Excitement. I want to know, does a guy really WIPE himself?
HS: Ahem. First of all, 36-24-36. Now don't even tell me those numbers didn't get you a little bit excited. (That's my locker combination, by the way. I get excited at the prospect of protecting my gym clothes.) The point is that numbers are sexy, but grit is not. Grit is something that belongs at the breakfast table (but not mine, please), not as a way of analyzing a player's talents. Once you open the door to allowing grit as one of a player's measurements, there are a thousand other questions that must be asked: How gritty is gritty? Does having unshaved facial stubble make a player more gritty? If he lets it grow into a full-blown beard, does that means he becomes more cuddly and less gritty? What about tattoos? Do those add grit? Obviously, the only answer to all of these questions is, "I was barely listening, can you repeat that, or even better, don't?"
PCB: You sound soft. Why don't you and your spreadsheet and your locker combo get a room, nerd stat boy! (Am I doing this right, Jerry Green?)
HS: You mean, get another room. HI-YOOO!!!
Which is the worse contract, Robinson Cano or Jacoby Ellsbury?
HS: Ellsbury signed with the Yankees for seven years and $153 million, roughly $22 million per year. Cano signed with the Mariners for ten years and $240 million, roughly $24 million per year. Ellsbury is 30, Cano is 31. On the surface, it looks like Cano has the uglier contract - more money, more years, older player. However, you have to look beyond the numbers. Cano is going to Seattle, the land of great coffee, fresh salmon, Dungeness crabs, Top Pot doughnuts, and the Pyramid brewery. Ellsbury has to be a Yankee for seven years. Cano is the clear winner here.
PCB: How are you even answering the question? Yes, Cano will enjoy Seattle's money and pleasantries, but the Mariners screwed themselves. The contract is way too big, and it doesn't get them close to competing in that division. Have you seen their lineup? To borrow an expression, adding Cano is like throwing a hot dog down a hallway. They need improvements all over, not just one big piece. From a team perspective the Yankees did the far smarter thing in adding Ellsbury. If I'm a GM, I'm going on on a strict "no huge contract" diet.
HS: Why don't you just come right out and say you hate Starbucks?
PCB: ... stupid place with their zoomed in logo ... those smug "baristas" and fancy sizes ...
Who is the better defender, Miguel Cabrera at first base or Nick Castellanos at third?
PCB: There are only four people on this planet who have seen Nick play third base and remember it, but the answer is still Nick Castellanos. Third is Nick's natural position, he's young, he's agile(ish), and he can be average. And average is enough to beat out Miguel's D at first. While a heck of a lot better than his defensive work at third base, Cabrera is still going to be a minus defender. As a solace to Miggy he can still make Nick his bitch and order him to fetch seeds or whatever.
HS: Stop hating on Miggy! Third base may be Nick's natural position (maybe - when's the last time he played there? High school? Little League?), but Miggy just spent two years sharpening his skills at the hot corner, and now he's taking those skills to a position where the demands aren't nearly as high as they were at third. In other words, he's now over-qualified as a first baseman, and Nick is rusty as a third baseman. That may change in a few years, but for now, I say Miggy will be the better defender.
PCB: Honestly I don't think either of us have the right to talk about being over-qualified. :-(
HS: I know. Now I'm just sad.
SO NEXT QUESTION!
Are you more comfortable giving a long-term extension to Miguel Cabrera or Max Scherzer?
HS: That's a no-brainer, as Sir Jim "Jamesmith" Leyland, Jr., Esq., VIII would say. You give the extension to Max Scherzer because he's shown nothing but improvement over the last few years. He's not getting worse, he's getting better as time goes on. Miggy, on the other hand, while he's certainly not getting worse, is starting to show susceptibility to injury. Assuming that by "long-term extension" we're talking about something like a 7-year contract for both players, I think you have to give that contract to Scherzer and let Miggy prove that he's durable enough to last a few more years, before committing to him for a contract that takes him into his 40's.
PCB: You are more wrong than Aubrey Huff in a thong. While I agree that you wait one more year, Cabrera is the better long term signing. I mean, unless you are not into having the best hitter in the game, winning championships, or boyish dugout hijinks. If you sign Cabrera to one more contract, they are going to put a statue of him beyond the centerfield wall. He's a preeminent player and almost a lock for the Hall of Fame. Scherzer is an outstanding pitcher, but probably not an all-time legend of the game. Are you going to waste money by a $/WAR measure by extending Cabrera? Yes. But sometimes retaining a legend can be more than cold, hard math.
HS: Well, as Ron Jeremy once said, the length of the thing is the important thing. Absolutely, extend Cabrera, just not for a contract that takes him deep into the long and hard years beyond 40, unless you want to be paying to watch him limp into second base.
PCB: I'm glad we checked poop and dick jokes off the list.
Greatest baseball movie of all time: Bull Durham, The Natural, Major League or Field of Dreams?
PCB: The answer is obviously none of the above. The best baseball movie ever is Rookie of the Year. Loved that movie. Daniel Stern as the pitching coach is a truly special performance. Mr. Baseball is second.
HS: It's hard to argue with those choices, but I'm going to argue anyway. I pick Bad News Bears, partly because it's a classic tale of underdogs-turned-heroes, but mostly because the script stands the test of time. Where else can you find a movie that features kids repeatedly spewing ethnic slurs about African Americans, Hispanics, and Jewish people? It's truly a heart-warming film that every parent should watch with their kids on Family Film Night, especially if you want your kids to grow up as racially insensitive assholes.
That being said, should we wrap this up, or should we go ahead and interject an obvious "Prince Fielder is fat" joke, just for old times' sake?
PCB: Whatever, Prince Fielder can haul ass!
Of course, he has to make two trips...
HS: ... with a "wide load" warning truck behind him. Too far? Too soon? Ok, get us the hell out of here.
PCB: We'll try to do better the next time.