Chat with Wallace Matthews
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Thursday, New York Yankees beat writer Wallace Matthews will stop by to take your baseball questions.
Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He joins ESPNNewYork to cover the Yankees, which he's done since the days of Stump Merrill, having worked for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and 1050 ESPN Radio.
Send your questions now and join Matthews Thursday at noon ET!
Kieran Darcy (12:15 PM)
Hi everyone -- Wally had something last-minute come up, so I'm gonna handle his chat today. I was out at Yankee Stadium for A-Rod's historic home run yesterday, so fire away!
Lenny (New York, NY)
Quite simply, is A-Rod a Hall-of-Famer in your book?
Kieran Darcy (12:22 PM)
A very good question to get us started. I don't have a vote -- but if I did, I would vote for him, although somewhat reluctantly. I think A-Rod would have been a Hall of Fame caliber player, even if he had never taken steroids. That said, I think there should be some kind of asterisk attached to his career numbers, and his plaque in Cooperstown.
Brian (New York)
Why is A-Rod singled out when it's widely known that a good number of MLB players during his era cheated? He's taken the bullets for all of them...bashing him is a tired act.
Kieran Darcy (12:24 PM)
I think a major reason why A-Rod is singled out is because of his contract -- he always take extra heat because of how much he gets paid.
I'm not an A-Rod fan, but I do appreciate talent. Do you think that when it's all said and done and he retires, whether or not atop the homerun race, will he be more appreciated or respected for his number than say Bonds because of the PED use?
Kieran Darcy (12:28 PM)
I do think A-Rod will fare better than Bonds in the long run, whether he passes Bonds' career total or not. A-Rod did come out and admit his PED use, so that will help him. Also, A-Rod is (presumably) not on the juice anymore -- his home run production is already declining to some degree, and will likely continue to do so. A-Rod's not going to be hitting 60-70 home runs in a season in his late 30s or early 40s. That makes A-Rod seem a little more "real" if you know what I mean.
Wallace, as a Yankee, A-Rod has hit his 400th, 500th and 600th homerun, won 2 MVPs and a World Series. If A-Rod retires today, do you think the Yankees would retire #13?
Kieran Darcy (12:29 PM)
Another interesting question. It's very hard to imagine A-Rod retiring today, with all that money on the table :) But if he did -- no, I do not think they would retire No. 13.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
How are the new players adapting to the new clubhouse environment and is the team chemistry being affected?
Kieran Darcy (12:34 PM)
In terms of fitting into the clubhouse, the three new Yankees -- Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood -- all seem to be blending in fine. But the early returns on the three new players haven't been very good. It's a small sample size, I'll admit. But Berkman is 2-for-16 so far as a Yankee. Kearns is 0-for-6. And Kerry Wood gave up a home run in his second relief appearance with the Yanks, on Tuesday.
How good do you think Phil Hughes is and will be?
Kieran Darcy (12:37 PM)
Hughes' performance got lost in all the hoopla surrounding A-Rod's 600th home run on Wednesday, but Hughes picked up his 13th win of the season. He only went 5 1/3 innings, but he said he didn't feel particularly well yesterday, yet he battled, throwing 99 pitches in very muggy conditions and giving up just one run on four hits. Hughes is 13-4 with a 3.96 ERA -- Yankeees fans would have been overjoyed with those totals at the beginning of the season.
Kieran Darcy (12:39 PM)
How good can he be? Well, he looks capable of being a No. 1 or No. 2 starter for the Yankees for many years to come. I think fans forget how young this guy is, since he has been around for a while -- in fact, he started the game in which A-Rod hit his 500th home run, on Aug. 4, 2007. But Hughes is still only 24 years of age.
Susanne (Monclair, NJ)
Kieran, do you forsee the Yanks signing Crawford and Lee this offseason? Is this realistic?
Kieran Darcy (12:44 PM)
I think it's very likely they'll go after Cliff Lee hard -- especially if Andy Pettitte decides to retire, but probably even if Pettitte sticks around for another year, because Lee is a natural replacement for Pettitte. Crawford's a definite possibility too -- but I think if they were going to go hard after Crawford, they'd like to figure out a way to move Curtis Granderson's contract. Granderson is owed $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012, and he's been underwhelming this year. If the Yankees could move Granderson, I think they would go after Crawford hard, too.
There must be concern about NYY's rotation come the postseason. Burnett is a mess and Pettite is hurt. Sabathia can only pitch every 4th game.... and even he isn't a sure thing.
Kieran Darcy (12:47 PM)
I think Pettitte is the key -- if he can come back soon and continue to pitch the way he did before he got hurt (11-2, 2.88 ERA), the Yankees will be fine. Sabathia is a horse, and Hughes' innings limit won't apply in the postseason. But they'd feel a lot better if Burnett could figure out what's going on too...he's been terribly inconsistent this year.
craig (los angeles)
who would you say is gonna be the biggest help to the yankees. Lance berkman, kerry wood etc.
Kieran Darcy (12:48 PM)
I think, of the three players the Yankees acquired, Berkman will be the biggest help. He's off to a slow start, but I think he will come around, and prove to be a very valuable bat for the Yankees.
With the Jets now a dominant story and the Giants always a story, and the huge following of the NFL, do you see the interest in the Yankees being diminished and kind of taking a back seat now that the NFL season is about to start and NY now seems to have 2 teams they care about.
Kieran Darcy (12:51 PM)
It's true -- the Jets and Giants will both get a lot of attention this year. But the Yankees will definitely not take a backseat. It appears they're going to be in a race with the Rays for the division title all the way to the end -- and if the Red Sox ever made things interesting by catching up a bit more and making it a three-team race, that would be unbelievably absorbing, considering one of those three teams will definitely not make the playoffs.
Lardin (Hartford, CT)
Assuming he gets elected to the HOF, does he go in as Yankee? He's played 7 years with Seattle, and & with the Yankees. With another seven years on his contract....
Kieran Darcy (12:53 PM)
I will be shocked if Alex Rodriguez -- if elected -- doesn't go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee. That's the tem he won a World Series ring with, and he often speaks about how much that meant to him. In fact, he spoke about it yesterday after the game -- how the personal milestones simply don't compare anymore, now that he knows the feeling of celebrating on the mound after a World Series win.
Kieran Darcy (12:54 PM)
Thanks for all the questions guys, and apologies to those I couldn't get to. Enjoy Yankees-Red Sox this weekend!