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Chat: Ken Funck

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday July 26, 2010 2:00 PM ET chat session with Ken Funck.

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It's time to put your questions to BP's funkmeister himself, Ken Funck... just don't ask him to play any music.

Ken Funck: Greetings, fellow BP fans. I need a break from wiring lights in my kitchen, so let’s chat about baseball. Keep in mind this is a Chat, not an Interview, so while I’m happy to answer any questions you lob at me, I’m also interested in sharing whatever opinions you have. My column this week will be about things I believe to be true, so I’m keen to hear what you believe, about baseball, sabermetrics, this year’s pennant races, pop culture, whatever. Let’s do this thang.

Drew (Phoenix): Should fans of pretty much ANY contending team be at their GM's office door with pitchforks over the Haren trade? I'd have to imagine most teams could have put together comparable, if not better packages, than what the Angels offered up.

Ken Funck: Yeah, like you I was shocked to see how little the Snakes got in return. Couldn’t the Twins have gotten the same deal if they’d offered any of the myriad Saunders clones that litter the back end of their rotation? It’s almost like one of those fantasy baseball trades where you find out about it and think you’d have made a better offer if you only knew the asking price was so ridiculously low – and it really burns when it helps one of your rivals, so I can’t imagine there’s much joy in Arlington this morning. But the torches and pitchforks belong outside the Arizona front offices.

JDGilroy (Toronto): Any word on whether the Blue Jays might be able to sign (18) Kris Bryant?

Ken Funck: I don’t have any more information on this than you do, actually, and I don’t know how much cash will buy him out of his college commitment. Personally, if I were confident I’d be a top pick in a few years, I’d rather spend some time taking classes and lying on the beach in SD rather than deal with the brutal minor league travel schedule. But that’s just me.

Matt (Chicago): Do you see Colvin as a viable , everyday OFer or are the OBP issues too much of a roadblock?

Ken Funck: I don’t think the OBP issues will keep him from being an everyday player, it’ll just keep him from being a top-notch everyday player. I have to admit he’s impressed me more than I thought he would, and while his raw power is less than the numbers he’s put up so far, ANYONE with a small salary that can start for the Cubs is a sight for sore eyes.

JDGilroy (Toronto): Would you trade Jose Bautista is you were the Blue Jays? Every time you think he is about to let up, he records a few more extra base hits..

Ken Funck: Since those extra base hits won’t help the Blue Jays get anywhere this year, and aren’t going to continue forever, if they can get anything of value for him they should do it, and if they really like him, they can sign him back next year. I hope he stays in the junior circuit, though, since I drafted him in my AL-only Strat league.

Now that I write for BP, a few acquaintances have started seeking out my advice for their fantasy teams, and Bautista was the first guy I mentioned this spring: “I wouldn't be shocked to see Jose Bautista play well for the Jays -- he may be a Raul Ibanez-style late bloomer, and there's a decent chance he'll play some 3b as well as the outfield corners.” Then again, I also predicted big bouncebacks for BJ Upton and Milton Bradley, so I’m not exactly the Kwisatz Haderach.

Kevin (MSP): How do you think the AL Central race will shake out, now that the White Sox have come back to earth?

Ken Funck: I picked the Twins at the start of the season, and I’m sticking with it. Part of that is based on the belief that they’ll break character and make some moves at the deadline, since any starting pitching will help them. I thought it might be Haren, but that ship has sailed. Ted Lilly, a flyball pitcher in a big park, might be a good fit. They have the new park, they’ve signed Mauer long-term—now’s the time to go all in. Be bold, Bill Smith, and mighty forces will come to your aid.

Bootsy (The Mothership): Why shouldn't we ask you to play any music?

Ken Funck: Because you’d be disappointed – I play around a little on the keyboard and, can make noise from a harmonica and my daughter’s drum set, but for a man with a style of music firmly lodged in my name, I’m surprisingly bad at actually making music.

Jquinton82 (NY): Two Yankees questions, 1) Please tell me the Yanks don't put Mitre out there for another start; are there no internal options at Triple A? We know what Mitre/Park/Guadin can do and its not pretty. 2) Why is Albaladejo in Triple A and not in the Yankees bullpen? Correct me if wrong, but isn't he the bullpen piece they need?

Ken Funck: Albaladejo absolutely should be up—if a 61/12 K/BB rate in AAA doesn’t get you back to the bigs, what will? As for Mitre, well, he’s a “proven major leaguer”, and GMs often seem to avoid the solution which will bring down the most criticism, in this case going with an unknown commodity that doesn’t produce (and thus sticking with a known commodity that doesn't produce). But fear not—this is the Yankees we’re talking about, and they’ll likely find a way to add another starter before the deadline. Even if they don’t, they’ll still be playing games in late October.

john (ct): Has Jesus Montero reclaimed his #1 spot among prospects? To say he's been onfire as of late is an understatement. The Yanks must be relieved he's not in Seattle.

Ken Funck: Montero is the top power bat in the minors, but his defensive limitations keep him from being the best player – I’d rather have Dominic Brown or Mike Trout, for example. As a generalist myself, I like players with all-around solid games. As an aside, it’s interesting to me how short-term struggles for minor league players sometimes seems to panic people more than the same thing happening at the major league level. Maybe it's because we've never actually seen those guys struggle and come out of it like we have big leaguers, so every little hiccup becomes magnified. Montero is the same kid he was before his early-season "struggles" and mid-season recovery – a huge talent with a huge future.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): What letter grade would you give Jerry DiPoto's return for Dan Haren? Explain...

Ken Funck: Well ... he did get rid of some salary. He did get a guy who can start in the major leagues in return, and hopefully at least one decent prospect. And maybe he knows something about Haren we don't. As much as I'd like to give it an F, given how much more I think he could have gotten from other teams, I admit there's a lot I don't know about this so I can only give it a D.

mwyche (Silver Spring): What kind of package could the Nats get from the Rays for A. Dunn?

Ken Funck: From Mike Rizzo's perspective, it would be Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson and maybe B.J. Upton. Sounds to me like he wants the moon. I don't have a good answer for this, honestly, not having a KG-like encyclopedic knowledge of the Rays's sytem, but if I were the Rays, I wouldn't give up any top prospects. And I say that as a guy who adores Adam Dunn -- but I'd rather bank on their own guys hitting better down the stretch than give up something really valuable for Dunn.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): Is there any reason Omar Minaya should keep his job at this point? Just look at the results, Ken.

Ken Funck: Ummm ... he's under contract for two more years? It's easy to pile on Omar, the same way it's easy to pile on Jim Hendry, since we all think we could do a better job given the resources available to them. In Omar's case, though, we may be right.

Ethan (New York): Given the way he's been pitching, would it make sense for Brian Cashman to have the cajones to send Joba Chamberlain to AAA?

Ken Funck: I think in general he's pitched better than some of the numbers show -- he has a SIERA in the low 3's, I think, and a BABIP up around .400. I don't know if shipping him out will help rebuild his confidence or sink it. I also wonder whether all the talk of the Joba rules "ruining" him is really accurate -- maybe he really wasn't as good as we all thought he was.

Randy (Louisville, KY): What type of power do you think A. McCutchen will develop and will C. Gonzalez ever have a OBP of better than the .335 range?

Ken Funck: PECOTA thinks see McCutchen's power topping out in the mid-teens, and I think I concur. Combine that with his speed, CF defense, and on-base ability, and he's quite the talent. CarGo's patience -- well, I was optimistic coming into this season, but now I'm wondering if he's Alfonso Soriano with a good glove.

Andy (Chicago): Are the Cardinals destined to always have streaky, left handed center fielders? Lankford, Edmonds, Rasmus -- all look amazing when they hit, awful when they don't...

Ken Funck: And Ankiel -- and then there's Jon Jay, who I actually watched for the first time last night as he crushed shot after shot to the right-center gap. Consider the alternative -- if they look amazing when they hit, that means you have a CF who CAN hit, at least occasionally. Lots of teams would take that.

Ethan (NYC): What would it take over the last two months for Carlos Pena's season to be considered anything other than disappointing?

Ken Funck: Pena's season has been just plain odd. He's hitting home runs, but his ISO is way down because he's hitting way more ground balls than usual. Despite that, his BA and BABIP is way down. At this point, it's hard for it not to wind up disappointing.

Gobias (CA): Which misspelling of your name happens more often: Funk, or Funke (assuming your audience is skewed towards Arrested Development Fans).

Ken Funck: Funk for sure, since that's the common way it's spelled. My father used to say that "funk" in Middle German meant "cowardly", while "funck" meant "brilliant". But my father said a lot of things, so I'm not buying that. Believe it or not there was a Ken Funk in my small high school as well, who's lived a checkered life. If you google my name you can read all about it.

Matt (Chicago): The Cubs seem to have some SP depth between the major -league roster and high minors. Do you think that they need to go out and acquire a higher-ceiling guy in the off-season, either via trade or FA?

Ken Funck: Depends on what they get out of Zambrano the rest of the year, I guess, and whether they believe in Silva. I hate the idea of signing free agent starters since they often tend to become long-term liabilities (although Hendry doesn't get enough credit for signing Lilly). With Cashner and maybe Jackson coming along, no need to open the wallet again.

Matt (Chciago): Does it make sense for the Cubs to give Cashner a go in the rotation after they move Lilly? He seemed to thrive as a starter after being stretched out the last couple of yrs.

Ken Funck: I'd rather they didn't. The kinder, gentler (or should we say tanned, rested and ready?) Z will move back into the rotation for two months of "pitch or die", while Cashner stays on the Earl Weaver plan and works in relief, keeping his innings down. Then next year, they can put Cashner back in the rotation. As an aside, as much as I think the anger management stuff may make Z a better pitcher and a better teammate, I'll miss his glares and stomping sessions if they're actually gone.

El Descolador (EG,CA): Any chance BP might consider bringing back BP Idol for another round? Reading all of the work by you and Schwartz and friends brings back pleasant memories of all the great content the contest delivered!

Ken Funck: I've been a BP reader far longer than I've been a contributor, of course, and I have to say I loved the extra content BP Idol brought in. That's not to say there isn't a lot of great content already -- I think there's more to read on the site than ever -- but the contest certainly seemed to engage a lot of our readers. If it were up to me, I'd schedule another one -- perhaps over the winter when there's less baseball going on.

Bob (Seattle): Who's the biggest sabermatric flameout of all time? Bobby Estalella? Jackie Rexrode? Roberto Petagine? Someone else?

Ken Funck: Wow, that's a great list, though there's a difference between not producing and never getting the chance to produce. I can't add to it other than to add my own personal nemesis: Chad Orvella, who I drafted based on PECOTA's unabashed, notes in the lunchroom crush on him. That didn't turn out well.

Charlie (Bethesda, MD): Why on Earth would the Nats trade Adam Dunn for Edwin Jackson? If they really can't re-sign him, wouldn't compensation picks beat that deal anyway?

Ken Funck: Banking on compensation picks can be a little dicey, since you might not get what you expect depending on who signs where (see: CC Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers). I'm not particularly bullish on Jackson, but he does have stuff and can pitch in the majors now, two important things for a Nationals team trying to build some excitement and a brand. I don't think it's that bad a move, depending on what other teams are offering.

For the White Sox part of this thing, it'll be a shame if they have to give up someone like Daniel Hudson to rent Dunn, when they could just as easily have signed an ever-willing Jim Thome last spring.

Phil (NYC): *Might* be right? There is no silver lining here. Omar is the worst.

Ken Funck: Please stay on the line while I forward this problem ticket to Steven Goldman, who off the top of his head can probably list a half-dozen GMs who were so laughably bad they'd make Omar look like (insert trendy GM pick here -- Theo Epstein?) I'm not defending Minaya, just noting that there have been a lot of bad GMs over time. The longer you stay on the job, the more bad moves there are to bring up against you.

Bobby (Pittsburgh): Is it too early to call Brandon Wood and Andy LaRoche busts?

Ken Funck: No -- but of course I'm paid to have opinions. Everything that we thought might go wrong with Brandon Wood has.

Tommy (Iraq): Alex Gordon, 1.5 Career All Star Selections, Over or Under?

Ken Funck: Under. Moving him to the outfield ups the offensive bar considerably, and while the ASG needs a Designated Royal, there's Soria, Butler, and the big crop of up-and-comers to contend with.

Zooey (LA): Ken, who you think are the best 3 managers in baseball?

Ken Funck: Great question, and frankly, one I haven't really thought much about. Win-Loss records have so much more to do with the talent a manager's given than any innate skill the manager has. Was Joe Torre truly a great manager when he was in NYC? I can't say that I know. I guess if I were running a team I'd do my best to sign Tony LaRussa, assuming that Dave Duncan comes with him. My other two would be Bobby Cox and Ozzie Guillen, who never gets enough credit for how well he manages a pitching staff. Maybe I'm just voting for interesting managers!

Dan (Brooklyn): Ken, The Mets have lost three road games in the last five days in their opponents' last at-bat, while K-Rod only got work in mop-up duty on Saturday in a 6-1 win. Manuel says he's not wavering from his belief in the "no closer in tie games on the road" mentality, but we're falling out of wild card race on the backs of Ollie Perez and Fernando Nieve. What did we do to deserve this?

Ken Funck: While last night, as an example, TLR let Ryan Franklin work the 9th and 10th on the road in a tie game. And hey presto, they won! Meanwhile, Carlos Marmol pitched only the 9th and gave way to the immortal Brian Schlitter (whose one-line comment in the 2009 BP Annual is one of my all-time faves), who worked two innings and took the loss. I hate, just hate, stuff like that.

What did you do to deserve this? You chose the wrong hometown team to root for, I guess (something I, too, am guilty of).

minima (ny): Given the fact that the yankees face a 40% tax on any salary acquired via trades, is it possible for them to work around this limitation by doing three way deals where they send money to a third team to eat some salary for them?

Ken Funck: Honestly, I don't know the particulars of the luxury tax well enough to know whether that would circumvent it, but if that works you should give Brian Cashman a call.

Alex Anthoupolous (Toronto): What letter grade would you give my performance as a GM so far?

Ken Funck: Trending towards a very high grade. Spinning Alex Gonzalez into gold was a brilliant display of identifying an undervalued asset and redeeming it at its peak. But I have to say incomplete so far, since the rest of his deadline work, and his handling of someone like Bautista, will tell us a lot.

Ron (Vancouver): We all know there are numerous over slot deals that have already been reached but can't be announced until closer to the signing deadline. How in the world does this benefit the team and the player? The draft needs to be fixed asap.

Ken Funck: Agreed -- in general, any rule that is always circumvented and requires teams to be deliberately disingenuous is a bad rule. Nothing more to add, just posting this because your opinion is a valid one, Ron.

Jquinton82 (NY): Since we're playing the bad GM game starring Omar Minaya... 3 Worst GM tenures you can think of?

Ken Funck: I'm not a historian so these are all recent-ish, but off the top of my head:

3) Randy Smith, Tigers
2) Allard Baird, Royals
1) Hawk Harrelson, White Sox

Minaya and Hendry aren't in the same ballpark as Hawk's year on the south side; heck, it ain't even the same sport.

Who's the Bossman? (Justin's Mansion): So is there any hope for BJ this season? Does he have a big month or two in him?

Ken Funck: Answering this for Rob in Alaska as well (is that you, Dr. Joel?)

Me and the Bossman, we have a history -- he's my starting Strat center-fielder, along with Curtis Granderson, and they've both deteriorated into platoon players, which really makes me cringe just to type. Does he have a big month in him? Sure -- the talent has always been there. It's just getting the big month OUT of him that's the problem, except during the playoffs when his stats won't help me. Honestly, I still think he'll become a solid hitter -- just not the superstar we all thought.

Big Z (Anger Management): I'm really the Latin Hulk, SHHHHHHHHH don't tell anyone.

Ken Funck: Why shouldn't I tell anyone? You've spent the last half-decade telling anyone that would listen.

Phil (NYC): Where does Brennan Boesch top out?

Ken Funck: He's a guy I'm pulling for. The power is real, but the batting average and OBP are sure to continue dropping. He can be a solid corner outfielder, but not a star.

Marissa (Florida): Will Mo Rivera be the first player to get 100% of the HoF vote? If not, give me one good reason why he doesn't deserve it.

Ken Funck: No, because there will be some writer who sees it as his sacred duty to ensure that no one gets 100%. Which, of course, is beyond ridiculous. There's no good reason, and it's one of the reasons I honestly don't get too worked up about the HOF.

hotstatrat (Toronto): Hey, Ken. Trading Bautista makes logical sense, but if they really did love him (and besides his hitting, I think they love his versitality very much), then trading Bautista might hurt his chances of coming back. Who wants to play for a team that treats you like a thing? They would have to make sure he was highly game to go where he was asked. Then they would still have the problem that he and his family might fall in love with where he was sent - not that anyone would prefer to live anywhere else than the wonderful city of Toronto.

Ken Funck: I love this question, because it's an issue I've always found interesting. We sometimes forget players are people like us who want to live and work where they enjoy living and working. It's an easy thing to say "trade him and re-sign him" (it must be easy, since I said it,didn't I?), but complicated human issues can get in the way of that. If the Jays truly want to keep him long-term, they can sit him down and explain to him that they want to keep him, but want to surround him with even better players in the future so they can tilt at the windmills in NY, Boston and Tampa. Trading him now helps them do that, so that they'll be better when he comes back. Not he easiest sell, but be honest, explain it logically, and maybe it works.

SaberTJ (Cleveland, OH): Any chance Hafner's recent performance is a sing for slightly better things to come? (Grasping at straws here with his contract).

Ken Funck: I think you answered your own question. I'd like to see Pronk be Pronk again, especially since I have a fondness for North Dakota (honestly -- the Little Missouri badlands are terrific), but that's not about to happen long-term.

john (ct): Please rate the O's new Kiddie Corp from #1-4 Matuzs, Tillman, Arrita, Britton

Ken Funck: Matusz, Tillman, gap, Arrieta, Britton. Despite this year's struggles, I think Matusz will pitch in a few All-Star Games.

Matt (Chicago): Do you see a decent return coming back for Lilly?

Ken Funck: I did until I saw the Haren trade, and that Christina projected him to bring back, ahem, Corban Joseph. Frankly, if that's all they'd get for him, I'd prefer they keep him and offer him arbitration. It's only money, after all, and if he accepts it's not the end of the world.

Will (Mactaquac): As much as I enjoy the great managers' all stars series, I'd love to hear the lists for some managers generally not as well-regarded. It's chicken and egg, sure, but instead of Hal McRae the player, what about him the manager?

Ken Funck: Love this idea. The "Tom Trebelhorn All-Stars" appeals to me.

Bob (Seattle): Forgot Cam Bonifay/Dave Littleton in Pittsburgh or our personal favorite in the NW, Bill Bavasi.

Ken Funck: There you go -- and many more. To paraphrase "The Good German", no matter how bad a GM story you may have, someone else has one that's worse.

Heat Peanuts (bag): 1) What's the offensive ceiling for Travis Snider? 2) Do you have a guess at his triple-slash next year, provided he stays healthy? 3) Care for a heat peanut?

Ken Funck: Ceiling: .310.390.540
2011: .275.350.500

No thanks on the heat peanut, a name which always makes me think of the bean bags that my wife heats up in the microwave to apply topically when she has a sore muscle.

Niko (Japan): Besides Baseball, what other sports do you follow?

Ken Funck: All of them, really. And if you ask me to specific, Ms. Couric, you'll be displaying liberal bias.

Okay, I'll be specific. The NFL and college football and basketball are the others I follow most closely, and last year (spring 2009) I became a big-time bandwagon jumper with the Blackhawks, a decision that paid off handsomely this spring.

Smithy (Washington): The Caps will win the Stanley Cup this season, True or False?

Ken Funck: They'll be the favorites, but don't get me started on Ovechkin's cheap shot on Brian Campball last year. I'm going to say false. Name me any team, and I'll say False, since the odds are less then 50/50 for any team to win the Cup going into the playoffs. Ask me again once they're in the Finals.

Sean Burroughs (Front of the house Walmart): Meek or Hanrahan in Pitt as Closer once Dotel hits the bricks?

Ken Funck: Meek has better underlying stuff, so he's the likely choice. I have a theory, however, that current usage patterns handcuff managers so much that they're probably better off having the better pitcher as the set-up guy, where you can maybe get more innings from them, than locking them into the ninth. So even Hanrahan is the closer, that isn't necessarily bad news.

Matt (Chicago ): Is it me or have Amaro's moves to create cost certainty(Blanton, Howard deals) likely put him in a financial straightjacket?

Ken Funck: See: Hendry, James.

cdmyers (Ann Arbor): Suppose the Tigers were to decide to bail on this season, after the spate of injuries and the already dicey chances of beating both the Twins and the Sox? Do they have anything you'd try to sell? Or will they just ride this one out and plan what to do with the gobs of cash they'll save by not having to pay Maglio's option?

Ken Funck: Despite their recent injuries, I think he Tigers are too close in the standings to be sellers at this point -- they're, what, 2 games back with the deadline coming up fast? Neither team ahead of them is a juggernaut, so I expect they'll ride the rest of the season out and see if Porcello can give them a boost.

Michael (St. Louis): Just how far has Pablo Sandoval's stock fallen? I'm in a very deep mixed league keeper with knowledgeable, dedicated owners and I haven't even been able to give the man away...(I have better options at 3B).

Ken Funck: I'd give you something (not much, but something) for him. He's not as bad as this year's numbers, any more than he was as good as last year's numbers. He's a likely bounceback candidate for next year. If you would have told me the Giants would be where they are today with KFP playing as poorly as he has, I'd have laughed at you.

Heat Peanuts (Planters): 1) Does landing Oswalt make the most sense for the Cardinals, Phillies or other? 2) Is Drayton McLane justified in his trepidation to trade Oswalt to a team in division, considering that the Astros won't contend during the life of Oswalt's contract? 3) Heat peanuts: better or much better than honey roasted?

Ken Funck: 1) Cardinals, followed by a tie between the Phillies and the Yankees.
2) No. That sort of thing is always overrated. If you make your team better by trading to a team in your division, even if you'll be competitive soon, you should make that trade.
3) Cashews they ain't, my friend.

Tim (Boston): Miranda Kerr or Brooklyn Decker?

Ken Funck: Tim from Boston? Is this Tim K.?

I actually had to google this, because I've never heard of either Miranda Kerr or Brooklyn Decker, though the latter has by far the cooler name, sounding like the nickname of a Victorian-era ferry boat more than a Victoria's Secret model. Based on the tiny sample of pictures, however, I'll go with Miranda.

Neither of them are Scarlett Johansson, however (which is an unfair comparison, since I've heard Scarlett Johansson's voice).

Jermaine Dye (At Home by the Blackberry): Will I ever play another game at the Major League Level?

Ken Funck: Surprised you can chat since the rumor mill says your phone is busy ringing. My guess is you'll get signed, play some in the minors, but never make it back to the bigs. If Ozzie and Kenny aren't calling and instead choose to live through the Juan Pierre Experience, I expect you don't have much left in the tank.

Bill (NY): Jayson Stark claims Yanks are dangling Montero for Soria...I'm not sure they should be trading a top 5-10 prospect in all of baseball for a reliever, regardless of how good Soria may be.

Ken Funck: If that's true, Cashman's gone insane. So ... I'm guessing it can't be true.

Clint (Chicago): RE: your point above about locking in your best pitcher to the ninth inning. That's why White Sox fans shouldn't get too worked up about Jenks right now. Putz and Thornton are being brought in for the tough situations in the 7th and 8th innings anyway.

Ken Funck: Exactly right, and exactly the example I like to use. The closer needs to be very good too, so I'm not saying that Lance Cormier should close ahead of Rafael Soriano or anything like that. This wouldn't be as much of an issue if someone brought back the two inning save.

Adam (Rochester): Do you think we're seeing a flukey career year from Prado or as he emerged as one of the league's top 2b? I just traded Franklin, Gorzy and De La Rosa for him and Felipe Paulino in a keeper league...

Ken Funck: I think it's a career year, but that's not the same thing as a fluke. It's the best year of a very good player's career. You can safely file him near the top of any 2b list for the next half-decade or so.

Jquinton82 (NY): I have to rebut Bill here If I may, Cashman has not gone insane. In fact it might be a solid idea. 1) Many see Austin Romine as Posada's heir, not Montero. 2) That makes Montero nothing more than a DH. 3) Someone will have to replace Mariano one day, and I don't know about you, but watching Joba makes me want to punch babies sometimes ... Not saying it makes all the sense in the world, but bullpen help now and certified closer waiting in wings - not the worst idea ever

Ken Funck: It's a question of value. Very rare is the closer who can provide as much value in 70 innings as a 3-hole hitter can provide in 700 PAs. Losing games in the 9th inning is emotionally hard, but not having leads going into the 9th is worse.

Matt (Chicago): Which direction do you see the Cubs going in for 2b once the Theriot era mercifully comes to an end?Please make it end!None of their middle-infield prospects appear big league-ready.

Ken Funck: Long-term, the idea might well be Castro at 2b, making room for Hak-Ju Lee. But that's quite a way off. I'd love to see them sign Orlando Hudson next year, actually. Bigger question for me is actually this: why is Theriot starting ahead of Fontenot? Isn't that a pretty obvious platoon?

Roy Halladay (Philly): I could retire tommorow and I will still be in the HoF. True or False?

Ken Funck: Honestly, I think that depends on WHY he retires. If he were hurt he'd get far more votes than if he just decided he'd rather sit on a beach somewhere (perhaps in San Diego, chatting with Kris Bryant).

JDGilroy (Toronto): Can Bautista return a top 50 prospect in a trade right now? I should have to think so, given he is still the league leader in HR's..

Ken Funck: Top 50? Maybe in the lower 40-50 range. I think most GMs are afraid he'll turn back into a pumpkin any minute now.

Just a few more, then I have to run ...

Heat Peanuts (1.75 oz tube): 1) Will Scott Boras get anything close to a Teixeira contract for Prince, assuming the Yankees won't be one of the bidders? 2) Do the Brewers have enough decent prospects to build around Braun-Gallardo to contend next year? 3) When will Planters Heat Peanuts become the ballpark staple that Cracker Jack is?

Ken Funck: 1) No, since Prince isn't the same defender and more GMs will be worried that Prince's rounder physique won't age as well. As a whole, MLB keeps getting smarter about how it spends its money.

2) Not next year, no -- the few pitching prospects they have are too far away, as is their best hitting prospect (Brett Lawrie). I can certainly understand Melvin deciding to keep Fielder and take one more shot with the Fielder/Braun/Hart/Weeks core before they have to be split up.

Gray (Chicago): Why aren't the Cubs looking to deal Carlos Marmol? I despise closers on bad teams (Soria) and he is a prime injury candidate. If they are as enamored with Andrew Cashner and ready to declare him their closer of the future, why not put Marmol on the market as the other RP available are a joke?

Ken Funck: I think they view Cashner as a starter long-term, and I don't think they view Marmol as an injury waiting to happen. Marmol's cheap, and they don't want to trade anyone that's both cheap and effective.

Riley Steele (Chatsworth, California): Which team won the 4 team Halladay trade?

Ken Funck: The team that wound up with Halladay at a reasonable (for him) contract.

Ken's Mother (Upstairs): Kenny, can you answer the door?

Ken Funck: Gotta go! Thanks for all the great questions, sorry I couldn't get to them all, and I hope we can do this again soon. Thanks for making BP a part of your day.

Ken Funck: Enjoy the rest of your Monday!


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