Chat with Wally Matthews
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at noon ET!
Wallace Matthews (11:58 AM)
Good afternoon everyone. Are we all happy after last night's offensive explosion? I thought so. We'll be underway in a moment
I know hindsight's 20/20 and the Pineda injury not with standing, considering the power drop off of Arod so far wouldn't it have been wiser to keep the young power hitting chip - Montero- rather than trade him? Arod didn't go to Germany in the off season to sight see.The questions about his body breaking down started years ago and it appears as though were seeing the effects last year (DL) this year (reduced power numbers). All we heard about on Sunday was how the wind knocked down his ball in the 8th yet an inning earlier Ludwick and Hannigan reached the seats in left- easily. Your thoughts on the Montero move and Arod?
Wallace Matthews (12:04 PM)
My column on A-Rod today touches on many of these issues. The yankees never seem to run out of excuses for his lack of power this season but the reality is more like what you are describing. the ball simply does not jump off his bat anymore, and if it is due to some problem with his legs or his hip or his shoulder, they are not saying. Or maybe he's just getting old. but he's certainly not the same player. On Montero, I know it is tempting right now to say the trade should not have been made but without going into specifics, i think I can safely say the Yankees were willing to part with him for reasons other than his hitting ability, which is considerable although not up to prime A-Rod standards. i;m not sure Montero would have been a long term solution but sure, it would have been nice to have his bat off the bench the past couple of weeks
Anything in the way of reinforcements we can look forward to for some energy? There has to be a better outfielder than Wise in AAA right? I might even welcome Ramiro Pena at some point.
Wallace Matthews (12:06 PM)
Would you really rather see Pena in the OF than Wise, who made one of the great catches in baseball history a couple of years ago to save Mark buerhle's PG. He's not a bad outfielder. The only viable alternative would seem to be Chris Dickerson. Is that much of an upgrade?
Hey Wally, The Yankees are HORRIBLE with RISP, but to be honest, this is what we will have to watch for the next 2 years till the baby bombers in Charleston are ready. How good are those guys down there and any chance we could see a few of them next season like maybe Williams, Banuelos and Campos if the last two injuries are not serious.
Wallace Matthews (12:09 PM)
The River Dogs are pretty darned good, 30-13 the last time I checked, and Tyler austin is raking with something like 13 HRs in 40 games, but those guys are in A ball and at least 3 years away. Willimas is probably couple of years away -- he's just a kid, although very talented -- but I would think that by next year, the Yankees will be expecting more out of Banuelos and Betances than they have gotten so far.
When the Yankees are to play the next day?s game in a different city, do they send the scheduled SP a day ahead? Is it done during the regular season, pennant stretch, or playoffs? Any change in this policy during Cash?s era? Same under Girardi as Torre?
Wallace Matthews (12:11 PM)
Generally yes, and I think almost always in the case of Sabathia. That has been a longtime practice and as far as I know, it hasn;t changed. Of course, when they are going from, say, Oakland to LA, as they will next week, they wouldn't bother but if theyre in Cleveland or Detroit on a Thursday and playing in NY on a Friday, they usually send the starter home a day early
This is a fantasy question but can relate. Keep or drop brett gardner? Where do you see his stats at?
Wallace Matthews (12:12 PM)
I don't play fantasy baseball so I can;t give you a good answer on that but I know the Yankees are beginning to suspect that Gardner's absence from the lineup is the reason they've been having trouble scoring runs. So they say keep. As for you, at this point, hes missed so much time I can;t imagine his end of year stats being very good
What do you think are the Yankees chances of getting anyone at the trade deadline and if so, who? And also, do you think the Yankees will sign either Josh Hamilton or Tim Lincecum in the future?
Wallace Matthews (12:15 PM)
it's still too early to predict which teams will be sellers, unless you want to start cherry-picking the Royals or the Rockies. But you know that as (almost) always, the Yankees will be buyers at deadline time. The other thing you don;t know yet is what their needs will be in July. If Hal S. is serious about $189 M payroll, I can't see them signing either of the two players yu mention
How about batting A-Rod 2nd as he has been great at getting on base until he gets his power stroke back. This does leave three straight lefties of Cano, Grandy, and Ibanez. I don't care about 3 straight lefties because if necessary, against a lefty reliever, Andruw will just pinch-hit for Ibanez so it would be like two lefties in a row and Cano and Grandy both it lefties as well and against a lefty starter, Ibanez isn't playing anyways. Even if Girardi will not do that, Granderson should not be hitting sixth against lefties since he didn't last year and it worked out great. Also, I think Robertson will regain his closer role right when he comes back and Soriano will not retain it? What do you think on all of the above? Thank you very much for reading this and I very much look forward to reading your response! All the best!
Wallace Matthews (12:19 PM)
I've been thinking sbout A-Rod either hitting 2d or sixth. Girardi always mentions the three lefties thing as a reason to avoid the question, but in moments of candor he will admit that both Grandy and Cano hit both lefties and righties pretty much equaly well. So i think the real issue is having to confront the reality that Alex is no longer a cleanup hitter, which I think the manger is reluctant to do. and I do think Grandy's bat would be more efficiently used in the middle of the lineup.As for Robertson, i think it depends on how well Sori performs as the closer. Joe may decide to leave well enuf alone and return DRob to the 8th, where he did so well, and leave Sori as the closer, where he seems much happier and has performed flawlessly so far
Mike (Long Island)
How much longer will we have to endure the tragedy that is Freddie Garcia? Seriously, why not try to give one of the AAA guys a chance to see if they can get MLB-calibre hitters out? I think the jury is already cast its vote on Fab Freddie.
Wallace Matthews (12:20 PM)
well, if oyu notice, freddy is only being used in mop-up duty, a non-essential role if ever there was one. I wonder if the fact that they;re paying him $4M this year has anything to do with the fact that he's still here?
Matt (R.I.) [via mobile]
If this turns out to be a down year for the Yanks, do you think it's possible the Yankees will shy away from their plan to decrease payroll
Wallace Matthews (12:21 PM)
Excellent question and one only Hal S. can answer, but my guess is that if the Yankees miss the playoffs, or suffer an early exit -- like in the one-game wild-card round -- Hal will change his tune on th epayroll because any empty stadium will wind up costing him as much, if not more, than the luxury tax
Stephen (Bangkok Thailand)
Hi Wally,Do you think the Yankess will pursue Cole Hamels this winter if he becomes a free agent? I know Hal wants to bring payroll down, but he seems, for a FA pitcher, a fairly safe investment....under 30, great production, relative injury free, etc.....a true #1 pitcher.
Wallace Matthews (12:23 PM)
I think Hamels is a viable option and I would say unequivocally yes if not for the 189M decree. It all depends on how firm Hal is about making that number. He sounded committed to it in the spring, but that was when he he thought he had a championship-caliber team this season
Mike (Long Island)
Trivia question: The last starting pitcher Brian Cashman's player development staff successfully brought through the farm system to be a reliable starter was....? (Please don't tell me Ivan Nova)
Wallace Matthews (12:23 PM)
Uh, Ian Kennedy? Oh, you meant for the Yankees . . .
AI (Astoria, NY)
What are the Yankees chances of signing Josh Hamilton or Tim Lincecum? What about them getting Greinke through a trade?
Wallace Matthews (12:25 PM)
Depends, again, on whether Hal is determined to cut payroll. If so, then probebly neither Hamilton nor Lincecum is a possibility. Greinke always intrigued me but my understanding is the Yankees are a bit leery of him playing in NY because of his anxiety problems
Mike (Long Island)
Unfortunately, we are stuck with the next five years of an aging and deteriorating A-Rod's contract -- there's nothing we can do about that. But, where are all the up-and-coming position players Brian Cashman told us would help to make the Yankees, uh, "younger and more athletic?" Perhaps he meant older and more arthritic?
Wallace Matthews (12:26 PM)
The only ones I can see who might fill those roles -- the Tyler austins, the mason Williamses, Cito Culver, Dante Bichette -- are 3-4 years away from Yankee Stadium. so you;ll just have to tough it out awhile. Of course, there is always NunEEEE waiting to come back
After last night win,Will the Yankees start to get hot and go on winning streak?
Wallace Matthews (12:27 PM)
who am I , Karnak the Magnificent? (Obscure Johnny Carson reference). The Magic 8-bal? siri? Ask me again in a few days..
Kevin (New Jersey)
What are your thoughts on dropping A-Rod in the lineup?
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
Ive been writing it all winter and asking Joey G about it since the start of spring training. Not necessarily dropping hi,, but moving him out of the No. 4 slot, where he no longer belongs. I could live with him hitting 6th, or maybe 2nd, and moving Grandy into the middle of the order
Last night the Royals intentionally walked Cano to load the bases for A-Rod. That would never happen if A-Rod is in front of Cano in the lineup. I know the mantra "your best hitter bats third" is what ppl keep saying but in no way does it make sense for Cano to hit 3rd and A-Rod to hit 4th. Whether its against righties or lefties A-Rod, Cano, 3-4.
Wallace Matthews (12:29 PM)
I wrote this very column in spring training. Nobody listens to me, dammit!
Person who's been AWOL (Washington, DC)
As a reporter covering the Yankees, do you ever long for the days where George would've not tolerated the lack of clutch hitting by the Yankees? How short of a leash does Kevin Long have as the hitting coach?
Wallace Matthews (12:30 PM)
No. A living George would have made my life hell. I like it this way. And I don;t think Kevin Long is going anywhere. Unlike his dad, I doubt Hal even knows who the hitting coach is
Chris (NY, NY)
Any news on Robertson's recovery?
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
supposed to play catch tomorrow and if all goes well, go to Tampa for a rehab assignment. he says he'll be back with the team on June 1 in Detroit. Girardi sounded like he wasn;t at all sure of that
Jayrock1480 (Rome, NY)
Granderson should be hitting 3rd or 4th with his rbi and hr totals this
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Wallace Matthews (12:32 PM)
Thanks, guys. Sorry, but time's up. we;ll do it again next week from glorious Anaheim