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November 17, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:57 AM)

Greetings, Yankee freaks. Today;s chat will come to you live from the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria in Orlando, where the GM meetings are expected to break momentarily for lunch. Which means, of course, that I may have to break, too, to catch up with Hal Steinbrenner or Randy Levine. (Brian Cashman has apparently left the meetings already). In any event, if the cdhat is interrupted we will pick it up where we left off. We'll be ready to go at 12 noon sharp

Ryan (New Hampshire)

I realize the Yankees are going to go all out and try and lure Lee to the Bronx. But lets say he decides to stay in Texas. Greinke has already said he won't pitch in New York, is there anyone else that they could trade for that would be an impact arm? I'm not seeing many arms they could trade for.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:04 PM)

Hello, Ryan: you have hit on the key issue this offseason, namely that once you get beyond Lee, the crop of free-agent pitchers drops off sharply. When Carl Pavano is being mentioned as the second-best FA pitcher out there, you know it is a weak crop. And before you laugh, remember that Cashman and the Yankees are not immune to making the same mistake twice. (Javy Vazquez). The Yankees might look at a Jorge de la Rosa, but he's a 29-year-old journeyman who is prob. as good as he will ever be. And it also explains why Cashman practicaly handed the no. 5 starter job to Nova yesterday. That is what makes it even more imperative that they bust open the bank to sign Lee, because after him, there's not much out there

Anthony Black (CONNECTICUT)

Hi, just wondering why the Yankees never seem to offer arbitration to thier free agents? Seems like they never have compensation picks.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:06 PM)

Hello, Anthony: it's a good question and the best read I can give you is what Cashman hinted at yesterday, that the Yankees hate any process where they are not in total control of the outcome. Cashman talked about how arbitration "can get away from you" and I think that's something that for all their willingness to throw money around, the Yankees try to avoid. If they;re going to throw moneyaround, they want it to be on their terms

Randy (NYC)

Hey Wally, Any reason for me to be nervous that Lee will consider no state income tax to go back to Texas? Seems absurd to me that he wouldn't be coming here. Also, Paulie O doesn't get enough credit when his contract was up and basically went into Steinbrenner's office without an agent and just said pay me what you think I'm worth.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:09 PM)

Hey, Randy. That state tax thing turns out to be a bit of a red herring; in a deal like the one Lee will sign, I'm told it would amount to a difference of like $10 million over the life of the contract, and I assume the Yankees would outbid any other suitor by at least that much anyway. The real concern, as it always is, is does the player and his family want to live and play in NY, a lifestyle that we know is different from any other in the country and like living on Mars compared to Little Rock, Ark. I agtree that Lee is likely to wind up a Yankee, but when the money is that close all around, you never know what factors will be the tipping point in a player's decision. As for O'Neill, there aren;t too many guys like that left in baseball. can;t think of any, as a matter of fact. Can you imagine Jeter or A-Rod doing that?

JayBonze (Sag Harbor)

I know that the Yanks have no choice but to play wait and see regarding Petit (just like every year) but what effect if any does that play on their ability to be a aggressive shoppers. His signing or not has some impact either way obviously.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

Yo, Jay: Cashman has spoken out of both sides of his mouth on this issue. Last week, he said that the signings not only of Pettitte, but of Jeter and Mariano, would have no effect on what he had left over for free agent signings. yesterday, he said he had to see how much those guys cost him before he could figure out how much he had left. Who knows what the real truth is? But I think the Yankees know what it will cost to bring Pettitte back -- somewhere around $12 million for one year -- and have planned accordingly. The more important question is, should they be looking for a pitcher to replace him in the rotation now in the event he decides to retire, ro do they wait him out and risk winding up with little of nothing to choose from? That is the real impact of Pettitte's decision, I think

Steve (Albany, NY)

Mr. Matthews, do you think the Yankees will add an outfielder this off season (e.g., Crawford, Werth, Justin Upton), stay with the Gardner-Granderson-Swisher combo

Wallace Matthews
  (12:15 PM)

hey, Steve: On more than one occasion, Cashman has told me he likes his OF as is and will not be a player for Crawford. I've written it several times. I would think the same goes for Werth. A justin Upton type would appear more reasonable, esp. since austin kearns isn't coming back and it is unlikely they will carry a Marcus Thames-type DH-slash-outfielder this season

Yankee Haters (Everywhere)

Wally, will the Yankees do their best job to buy their way into the playoffs again and also possiably buy another world series? Thanks.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

Hello, Yankee Haters. Yes, they will. They and about 15 other teams who recognize that this is the way the game is played nowadays. Even the Mets will try it

Andy (Dayton)

Any idea of a ceiling the Yankees have for Lee? Like the guy, but not sure he has the break the bank type of resume.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:19 PM)

Hrey, Andy: Cashman spoke yesterday about the risks not so much of giving a lot of money to a pitcher like Lee, but of giving a long-term deal to any pitcher because of their likelihood of injury and relatively short shelf life. The road is littered with the bodies of bad long-term pitching deals, from AJ Burnett, Barry Zito, Mike Hampton, etc. etc. I think lee will command Sabathia like money, $20 million plus, but the sticking point for anyone looking to sign him wil be the length of contract. Cashman's solution: "Take out an insurance policy on him."

Eric (NYC)

If you were a betting man odds on the following: signing Lee, signing Crawford, trading for Upton(s), trading Gardner or Swisher, and for kicks not re-signing Jeter, Mo, or Andy?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:21 PM)

Hey, Eric. I only bet on horses, not balplayers, but I'll give it a shot. Lee 75%. Crawford 25% or less, Upton a pretty good possibility. Gardner isn;t going anywhere. Cashman says he loves Swisher but I wouldn't be shocked if they moved him maybe for a starting pitcher. The yankees could play hardball with jeter but probably won't. Mo is definitely coming back. and Pettitte, since he will only want a one-year deal, is back if he wants to be

Steve (Augusta, ME)

Is there no chance that Kerry Wood would be re-signed?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:23 PM)

Hey, Steve: I wouldn;t say no chance. Cashman told me righyt after the season he would be interested in bringing him back as a setup man and insurance for Mo at the right price, but expected that some other team would offer him a closer's job based on his performance with the yankees. So far, haven't heard of any movement involving Wood so until,or if, he signs elsewhere, I'd say it's still a possibility, however remote

Chris (NYC)

Wally, Don't you think the smart move for the Yankees would be to offer Jeter 3/$30 million and use the savings to sign Carl Crawford? Jeter certainly hasn't been underpaid for the last 10 years and he's just not worth more than that at this point.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

Hey, Chris: That would be the smart move in a businesss sense, but it might not be from a PR standpoint. I know that there are voices within the organization who are advocating this approach on the supposition (probably correct) that no other team would come close tot hat offer for a soon-to-be 37-y-o SS anyway. But there are others in the org, who are afraid to take that hard a line with the most popular Yankee since Mantle. My guess is Jeter will get 3 years at about 21M a year. As for crawford, i don;t think they;re interested in giving him the kind of deal he wants. They acknowledged he's a better player than Gardner, but they don;t think he is 30 times the players, which is what he would cost them

Darrin (Ohio)

I don't know how serious the Yankees thought of Benoit but now that he's off the table which relievers will they look at? I heard Cashman talk about a small deal that might get done this week, any idea who this is?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:28 PM)

I know Cashman wants a lefty in the pen to go along with Logan and the name Pedro Feliciano has been mentioned, As far as a new set up man to replace K Wood, i get the feeling the Yanks are willing to try Joba and D-Rob in that spot again. as for the "small" player move, all I know for sure is it isn;t the shortstop.

Mike (Hartford, CT)

The no state tax thing is over rated and is a way for the media to push a storyline. Athletes pay a pro rated share of income taxes in every state they play in. So whether he signs with the Yankees or the Rangers or the Rays, hes gonna pay NY State income taxes in some way, shape or form...

Wallace Matthews
  (12:28 PM)

Correct, sir

Marcia (Brooklyn)

Jeff Wilpon was nice to you? Inspiring!

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

Hey, Marcia. We exchanged hellos. It was nice.

Ryan (New Hampshire)

When does Cano get his big Pay Day? And do you think it's another 7 year 100 mil blockbuster like other big names?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

The Yankees have three more years with Cano at pretty good numbers -- $10M for 2011, options for $14M in 2012 and $15M in 2013. that's a problem they don;t have to confront for awhile yet.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

Thanks, everyone, for all the great questions. Gotta scoot back to the meetings. Chat with you next week