Chat with Wally Matthews
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Thursday, New York Yankees beat writer Wally 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 1 p.m. ET!
Wallace Matthews (12:57 PM)
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the Blizzard Edition of the Yankees live chat. as some of you know, we were "snowed out" yesterday. I didn;t quite understand it but since I had a lot of shoveling to do I didn;t argue the point. And anyway, here we are, a day late but still brimming with questions and answers regarding the 2011 Yankees, who have been ominously quiet for the past month or so. We'll get going precisely at 1 pm so line em up and I'll do my best to knock em down.
With spring training weeks away, do you think the Yanks are happy with their roster? or are they still looking to fill in some holes?
Wallace Matthews (1:02 PM)
Bonjour, Lawrence. I know the Yankees are happy with some parts of their roster -- first base, second base, shortstop, third base, no. 1 starter and closer, or in other words, the obvious parts -- but they are not at all sure about the rest of the rotation, their DH situation or their middle relief. They are defnitley looking to fill those holes but finding it difficult in a rather thin free-agent market. That's why you hear names of retreads like A Jones and J Damon and Freddy Garcia and Duchscherer being thrown around. Still a lot of work to be done, not much time to do it
Cameron (Galesburg, IL)
What is the biggest hole in the team that Cashner and Co have yet to fill?
Wallace Matthews (1:04 PM)
Hey, Cameron. I think the biggest hole is the one they expected to be filled by Cliff Lee. after Sabathia, they still have no really reliable starter besides Phil Hughes. Not getting Lee was a huge blow and seems to have set them back on their heels. Plus, they could use a replacement for Kerry Wood as the setup man, although it looks like they are going to give Joba and D-Rob another crack at it. Regarding your question about Mariano, I don;t think he had any intention of playing enywhere other than the Bronx
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What will Yankees P Andy Pettitte do before the 2011 Season?
Wallace Matthews (1:05 PM)
Hey Chris. If I knew the answer to that one, I would be making my living at the racetrack or playing the market. I can;t read the future but the signs he put out last season seemed to indicate he would retire, and nothing he's said or done this offseason has changed my thinking on that, simply bec. he hasn;t said or done anything
have the yankees given anymore thought to bringing back gary sheffield??righty power and toughness could really help.arod had his best years with sheff in the lineup with him.
Wallace Matthews (1:07 PM)
Buenos Dias Joe. I've heard a ton of names the Yankees are supposed to e interested in, but never Sheff. The guy's 43 years old, hasn;t played since 2009 and the last time he was here didn;t leave on the best of terms. I would think Sheff II is the longest of longshots and I wouldn;t bet on it
khris(new york) [via mobile]
Will Jeter have a better year then he did last year and will Pettite return to the Bronx?
Wallace Matthews (1:09 PM)
I feel like Karnak the Magnificent today (ask your mom or dad if you were born after 1990). Those are the two biggest questions facing the Yankees right now -- was Jeter's 2010 a fluke, an aberration, or the beginning of an irreversible slide? Personally, I think Jeter will have a good year (say 285, OBP 335 or so) but he's 36, not 26 and will never be that kind of player again. As for Pettitte, see previous response. Thank you
Hi Wally,If the Yankees are not competitive next year (finishing third place in the east or worse) do you think that increases the chances of C.C. opting out? If C.C. does opt out could we be looking at a potential re-building period for the Yanks. Thanks!
Wallace Matthews (1:12 PM)
Hey, Bob. I am of the firm belief that no one includes an opt-out clause in a contract if they don;t intend to use it, even as leverage as a-Rod did after 2007. CC may invoke it whether the Yankees win it all or go bust. He plays for money and thats why it's in there, to get him more of it. And frankly, I can;t imagine anything more disastrous for the NYY than a rebuilding period, because there is no way they wil be able to sell enuf tickets at the prices they charge for a team that is not a contender. Of course, anything is possible but whatever you hear now about "budgets" and payroll constraints will go out the window if by May or June it looks like the Yankees aren;t making the playoffs.
jen parrish (tigard oregon)
Hey wally .How are you today. good afternoon. Hoping survived the snow.. So when are we getting andy back. Im getting more and more worried as the days go by..And if he doesnt come back do we have back up plan for rotation...I just am so worried because without andy we only have phil cc and aj . or phil and cc awe
Wallace Matthews (1:15 PM)
Hello Jen, my friend. I'll try to deal with all your questions in one shot. I share your rotation concerns if andy doesn;t come back and right now, it doesn;t look as if he will. (what a story if he shows up announced at spring training! I can only hope . . . ) When you say "big" free agents, the truth is, there aren;t many big ones left. about the biggest is Andruw Jones, and he's a part-time player at best right now. Johnny Damon coming back would be a big stry for aday or two, but he's no longer a team-changer I don;t think. Unfortunately, the big fish got away when CLee wriggled off the hook. As for Joba, barring a trade, I think he gets one more crack at 8th inning set up guy
I read that there is a growing believe in the organization that Pettitte is coming back. Have you heard anything? I'm still saying he's back!
Wallace Matthews (1:16 PM)
Hello, Randy. I read the same story, in a paper I used to work for by a writer I like and respect. However, he must be talking to someone other than who I'm talking to. No one in the Yankee organization has expressed anything close to optimism about Pettite coming back. In fact, Cashman has been quite the opposite. We'll see
Alex (Green Point)
What is the Ducsherer update?
Wallace Matthews (1:18 PM)
The update is that the Yankees are said to be still interested, altho Cashman refuses to discuss indiv. FAs due to league rules. Duchscherer has a lot of upside, but also a lot of downside -- depression problems, arm trouble -- that make him a risk and only worth a shot at the right price. Plus, I find it difficult to spell his name
Chris (Yankee Universe)
Yo wally! Do you think Girardi finally puts Gardner in the lead-off spot this season, sliding Jeter into the two-hole?
Wallace Matthews (1:20 PM)
Hey, Chris. Personally, I think he should, but it means dropping Jeter way down in the lineup because what's the point of having Gardner on base if he's going to get erased in a DP? Problem is, i;m not sure Girardi or the Yankees are ready to do that with Jeter yet. It's the right move for sure, but it's also a move that has to be handled very delicately and most importantly, Jeter's got to be on board with it.
Why not take a chance (providing the $ is right) on Manny?
Wallace Matthews (1:21 PM)
Hey, peter. I jumped you in the line because I wanted to share what someone in the Yankee organization said to me re Manny just the other day: "He's a (bleeping) P.O.S." you fill in the blanks
Joey (West Palm Beach)
What might fans realistically expect from Jesus Montero this year? Do you see him with Miguel Cabrera-type hitting potential? Is he more or less adept at catching than Mr. Posada was at the same age?
Wallace Matthews (1:23 PM)
Hey, Joey. although the Yankees rate Montero as a plus hitter, there are others in baseball who believe they are over apprasing him and do not see him as ever being a good defensive catcher, maybe mor elike a DH-slash-1B. I think realistically you should expect what you almost always get with first year major-leaguers: some flashes of brilliance, some mistakes, and a whole lot of inconsistency. Fro what I hear, he is not as good a catcher as Posada was at the same age, FWIW
Why would the Yankees have any interest in Damon? They need a right handed hitter that can play the field and he meets neither requirement
Wallace Matthews (1:26 PM)
Hello, NYD. Who says they are? Scott Boras and his lackeys in the media. The Yankees might take a chance at him if he;s willing to take a haircut and I don;t mean on his head, but I think they are far more interested in Andruw Jones. All along, the Yankees have said they don't want to carry a second DH, they need a righthanded bat, and they would like a backup outfielder. Damon is a lefty who can;t play the field. Plus, the failed negotiations last year left a bad taset in the Yankees mouths. Doesn;t make sense they would be all that interested in him, does it?
Meryl (Iselin, NJ)
If opening day is tomorrow, who would be in the Yankees rotation, assuming what was said about Pettitte yesterday is true, and no major signings and no major trades.
Wallace Matthews (1:26 PM)
Meryl, sad to say but here goes: CC, Hughes, AJ, Nova, Mitre
Danny G (New York, NY)
Of the following remaining available OF'ers, which do you see having the best chance of ending up with the Yankees in 2011?- Vlad, Manny, Damon, Thames, Andruw Jones?
Wallace Matthews (1:27 PM)
Hey, Danny. Of those four, Jones
MondoD (Snowed In, CT)
Thanks so much for doing this! I keep hearing that the Yankees may turn to Brackman, Betances, Baneulos, and Sanchez this year as possible starters, but the killer Bs haven't pitched above AA nor having the innings built up to start and Sanchez is a #5 at very best. Is this just typical Yankee hype or are these guys going to surprise us?
Wallace Matthews (1:30 PM)
Hey, Mondo. the Yankees believe Betances and Banuelos have top of the rotation stuff, with Brackman just slightly behind. However, all three will start in AAA and will only be called up if absoutely necessary, i.e., an injury to one of the ML starters. And banking on the success of young pitchers is a sure way to go bust. remember Generation K?
David (Jupiter, FL )
Hey Wallace....based on the thin free agent market and Cliff Lee going to Philly, don't you think the Yanks are going to hang tight until the trade deadline? If they can stay in the race for the first half, and they should, they can make moves at the deadline for a top of the line starter and whatever other holes they have.
Wallace Matthews (1:31 PM)
Hey, David. aside from signing a backup outfielder and possible second tier starter, I do. I think they believe they can stayt close enough until then and then pick someone off from a team looking to sell
Wallace Matthews (1:33 PM)
Great response today, guys. Sorry we're out of time and I couldn;t get to so many of your questions. Barring another snowstorm, we'll go again next Wednesday. see you then