Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:58 AM)

Good afternoon, everybody. I'm in my chatting chair and ready to go, so let's see how many questions we can get into over the next half-hour. Fire away!

Mitchell (NYC)

You have been around awhile. You've seen all the welter-weights over the last 30 years. Where do you think Mayweather would have fit in during the real golden era of the late 70's and early 80's with Leonard, Hearns, Duran and Benitez??

Wallace Matthews
  (12:02 PM)

Very interesting question, Mitchell, and a tuf one to answer because as great as Mayweather is, we have yet to see him under real pressure and how he responds to it. Hopefully, Pacquiao will provide an answer to that. But gut feeling is he would have had the same kind of problems with Duran that leonard had in the first fight, although I doubt he would have gone toe-to-toe with him. Hearns was a physical freak and might have been able to handle floyd with that long jab and devastating right hand behind it. Benitez and Leonard bouts would have been high-speed chess matches. I think Floyd would have decisioned Benitez and had his hands full with Leonard, who was a much more vicious puncher than given credit for

Matt (DC)

Wally, love your work. Do you think the Yanks will let Winn go to keep Russo on the 25 man roster? Winn's a great guy but he seems past it, while Russo has shown a good bat and Hairston like versatility in the field

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

Thanks, Matt. I believe we'll know the answer to that one in a couple of hours when (if?) Granderson is officially activated for tonight's game, but my guess is Winn will be DFA for exactly the reason you propose, as well as the simple fact Russo can do more things. He's been a pleasant surprise, esp. considering his first few days around the clubhouse, he seemed very ill-at-ease and shy with his teammates. seems to be getting over that, tho

Courtney Jackson (Lindenwold, NJ)

Hi wally, do you think yankees will repeat as champions this year?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:10 PM)

Hey, Courtney. I certainly think they have the talent to repeat but as we have seen many times in years past, and even over the course of what, 48 games this season, the baseball season is a long and fickle one and many things change in a hurry. I think it is a good sign that despite all the injuries and the erratic performances of several of the pitchers -- not to mention that Tex hasn't hit a lick and A-Rod's numbers are down -- that the Yankees are still playing just about .600 ball. The bad signs, of course, are that Boston and Toronto are creeping up on them inthe standings, and that Vazquez still can't seem to straighteh himself out. As a i wrote before the start of the season, the 2009 Yankees were incredibly lcuky in that at the times they needed to be healthy, they stayed healthy, did not suffer the loss of a single key player after the All-Star Break and somehow got through the entire playoff run with 3 starting pitchers. so yeha, they're good enough to win it all, but will they be lucky enough again? Time will tell

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will New York Yankees 1B/DH Nick Johnson be Out For the Season due to Wrist Surgery?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

Don't know but wouldn;t be a bit surprised. And neither should the Yankees. They knew what they were buying but were willing to take the risk. Now, it looms as the biggest mistake of the off-season and the one that is destined to haunt them all year long

Greg (Milford, MI)

Wally, Do you see the yanks riding the Vazquez roller-coaster all season, or will they stretch out Mitre soon and see what he can give them?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:15 PM)

Greg, I think at some point they will have to fish or cut bait on Vazquez, and I think if Aceves wasn;t injured they might have already moved him to the pen and stuck Aceves into his rotatin spot. It's stough call because clearly the guy's got ability, as demonstrated against the Tigers and Mets, and even in striking out Youkilis in that key at-bat, but just as clearly, something's not right with him, either mechanically or physically. it's not just location; he has a terrible time breaking 90 on a consistent basis, and right now his stuff isn;t good enough to allow him to live in the upper 80s. Mitre has done well in spot starts, but again, they are just spot starts, abd rarely more than 5-6 innings. Not sure if Girardi and Co. would feel comfortable entrusting him with a full-time rotation spot

Alex (DC)

What are your thoughts about sending Joba back to AAA if his inconsistency continues? He never really had much seasoning down there, and could afford to learn how to pitch (not to mention some humility). I just get the impression he has a bad attitude about improving his game.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:18 PM)

The Yankees have already screwed Joba up so much by constantly redefining his role, juicing him up (Not THAT way!), winding him down, controlling his work rate and pitch counts that I think the biggest problem is his head, not his arm. I think sending him back to AAA would only make it worse. And besides, who has a better right-handed arm out of the pen besides Mo? The Yankees created this monster and unfortunately now I think they have to help Joba work his problems out up here

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear WallyShould A-Rod have been fined by the league for stepping on the mound in Oakland?

john pierse (nyc)

The Nick Johnson signing is a fiasco as it is shaping up,why didn't Damon take the 7-8 mil and stay in NYc makes no sense,a pride thing?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

John, what really went down between Boras and Cashman remains unclear to me and a lot of others. Boras says the Yankees never made an offer; Cashman said they did and that Boras rejected it as unacceptable. and Cashman has told me several times that the negotiating door was always open for Damon, that they chose not to enter it thinking they would get more elsewere. In any event, this game of chicken seems to have backfired on both sides; Damon's on a one-year in detroit, and the Yankees are out 5.5 M with Johnson

john pierse (nyc)

Hi Wally,the injuries have made it easy to overlook a-Rod and Tex's poor hitting,whats with them?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

Hey, John. I'll use tex's answetr to me on you: If I knew what the problem was, we wouldn;t be having this conversation. That;s the scary part. he's certain he can fix the problem but doesn't have a clue about how to do it. as for A-Rod, I suspect he might be harboring an injury. Let;s just say he doesnb;t always bust it on the basepaths, and since he's a guy who has always played hard, that makes you wonder

John (New York)

Hey Wally. I'm gonna come out and say it: I'm a Mets fan, and this year has been a roller coaster so far. We went from first, to last, and now to third. My question is, do we have any chance of becoming a playoff caliber team in the next few years? I know the pitching is a cause for concern, but one more veteran in the rotation might be what the team needs.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:28 PM)

John, I couldn;t agree more. it's all about the pitching, as we just saw in the series' against the Phillies and the Yankees. the Mets got great starting pitching and won five of six. How long can it keep up? I don;t know, because how long can you go with RA Dickey or Takahashi? Obviuisly, of all the blunders Omar has made as GM, misjudging Perez and Maine have got to be the worst.

david (atlanta)

Wally if long is such a wonderful hitting coach then when are they going to start scoring runs? Also why do they have trouble scoring runs with runners in scoring position?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:31 PM)

Hey, David. I think we all tend to give managers and copaches too much credit and blame. The players all love K-Long, but does he really know more about hitting than A-Rod or Jeter or Tex? Same goes for Eiland. Does he know more than Sabathia or Pettitte? Is it the old, "those who can't do, teach" thing? (and those who can't teach, write.) All a hitting coach can do is instill an approach and keep an eye out fo rmechanical bad habits. it's still up to the hitters to do the rest

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

Guys, that's all we have time for today. Thanks for all the great questions and sorry i couldn;t get to all of them. We'll do this again next Friday at noon. Till then, ciao