Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 8, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:56 AM)

Good morning, everyone. as soon as it becomes afternoon --about four minutes from now --we'll begin our weekly Yankee gabfest, so line em up and I'll do my best to knock as many of them down as I can in a half-hour. be with you shortly

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What New Faces will we see with the New York Yankees at Spring Training?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:00 PM)

Hello, Crhis. you're today;s leadoff hitter. As a guess, I would say Cliff lee, Russell Martin and maybe Carl Crawford will be introducing themselves to new teammates. Mark prior, too, althoiugh having been out for 4 years, I don;t expect he'll stuck around too long. If he does, tho, it'd be a helluva story

Eric (Boston)

What are the odds Joba is a Yankee in 2011?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:04 PM)

Hey, Eric, I'm going to take both your questions here. I strongly suspect the Yankees are shopping Joba at the winter meetings, although I have no hard evidence other than the obvious, that the manager, GM and pitching coach lost a ton of confidence in him last year, although he may still have decent value to another team under the old "change of scenery" argument. I think it's no better than 50-50 that Joba is a yankee next season, depending on who they could get for him. As for Crawford, I would guess Gardner would be the odd man out because I don;t think the Yankees would want to sacrifice the power in Swisher's bat. But I'm still not convinced Crawford is on his way to the bronx, not the way people high up in the organization raved about the Yankee outfield in September and october and knowing how much Girardi values guys who can create runs the way Gardner can. My gt says the Yankee starting OF in 2011 will be the same as it was in 2010

God (Heaven)

Cheering for the Yankees is like going to a casino and cheering for the house!

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

They have casinos where you are? How about OTB?

The Rook (Evansville, IN)

Let's suppose the Yankees get Cliff Lee and talks heat up between Carl Crawford and the Red Sox to the point that it looks imminent that he will sign with Boston. Do you think there is a chance the Yankees will jump in on Crawford at the 11th hour the way they did with Teixiera two winters ago?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

Hello, The Rook. Or is it just Rook? I think anything is possible, but more likely the yankees will seek to drive up the price by feigning interest in Crawford. let's face it, once Granderson got himself going, the outfield wasn;t the problem last year. Pitching was. Cashman knows that as well or better than anyone and I believe most of his efforts, and money, will be channelled in that direction

Matt (Massapequa)

If Andy retires, what are the Yankees plans for another SP? Having Mitre and Nova in the rotation is pretty vomit worthy. Could they use Andy's money to sign Crawford, and then shop on OF for a SP?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:10 PM)

Hello, Matt. That's an excellent question and one the yankees I'm sure are hoping not to have to deal with. I think they are still operating under the assumption - or hope? -- that Pettitte will once again decide to come back for another season. And if not, they would like to know as soon as possible, obviously. if Pettitte decides to stay home -- which incidentally, I believe he will based on conversations I had with hinm throughout the season -- then signing Lee is not just important but imperative. Then you've got CC, Lee, Hughes, Nova and I hate ot say it, Burnett. That might not be so bad but they certainly could use one more major-league ready SP if they lose Pettitte

JD (Woodstock, NY)

The Yanks are apparently interested in Russell Martin. How would their catching shake out next year with Posada, Martin, Cervelli, and Montero all in the picture?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

Hey, JD. I think if the Yankees could write the script, it would be Posada full-time DH, Montero everyday catcher and Cervelli as backup. Cervelli's second-half last year did him no good in convincing anyone he will ever be more than a backup catcher which is why they are interested in Martin, who also provides insurance in the event Montero proves not to be ready just yet. acquiring Martin, of course, would render Cervelli expendable

Randy (NYC)

Hi Wally, call me crazy but I'm not buying that there are 2 other teams outside of the Yankees, Rangers, and Angels/Nats, that are offering Lee a 7 year contract. And if they are I can't see it possibly being in the range of $140-150 million. If we sign Russell Martin, would the plan be to make him the primary catcher, Montero the backup. Then Posada the dh? Not sure how Posada would feel about that but I think it's a good idea. If you see Cashman in the hallway please tell him to sign Lee today and try to get Andy back. If he does retire, then make sure he knows that we'll use that existing 13-16 mill on Crawford :)

Wallace Matthews
  (12:15 PM)

Hey, Crazy, er Randy. You;re not crazy at all. It's called negotiation and it's the agent's job to create the belief that his player is a hot commodit, which of course Lee already is. (and it's something Casey Close apparently couldn;t do with Jeter). But the history of disastrous long-term deals for pitchers makes it highly unlikely there's a whole bunch of teams out there willing to committ that long to Lee, who is already 32 and had some back problems last year. And BTW, Cashman has said he has a real problem with 7-year deals for pitchers. My understanding is Yanks would like to go no more than 6, but will do what is necessary to get him. I think I answered your Martin question earlier. and if Posada isn;t happy about DH-ing, well, he has no choice. Cashman has made that pretty clear

rico (Noo Yawk)

doesn't Jeter's claim that Casey Close spoke without his authorization sound a little ridiculous?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:17 PM)

hey, Rico. Of course it;s ridiculous and kind of surprising comoing from Jeter, who is renowned for being a stand up guy. I was disappointed to hear him throw his agent under the bus like that. Do you really believe for a moment that the person representing derek Jeter would say anything in a negotiation that had not been explicitly approved by his clinet? Me neither. Close is too smart to do something like that. Everything he said in those meetings reflected the views and desires of Derek Jeter.

sam (new york)

With the recent acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox lineup looks pretty formidable, especially since they will most likely add another OF. I know Yankees main target is Lee, but don't you think they will look to upgrade their lineup as well. Crawford may not fit in our lineup, especially for 8 years. Any trades you can see happening?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

Hello, Sam. I agree with you on Crawford; I don;t think he's worth $15 million a year and I'm not so sure, other than in power numbers, he's all that much of an upgrade over Gardner. Since both rely heavily on their speed, it doesn;t make sense to commit that much time and money on a player who is several years older. And honestly, although the team went through stretches where it didn;t hit, I don;t think offense was the problem last year. It was pitching, pitching, pitching. That;s where Cashman needs to shore things up. I think the linep is fine but could use a little more bench depth, esp. with the loss of Berkman and Thames

Jeff (NY, NY)

Signing Carl Crawford makes no sense to me. I know he is a good player, but I don't think that he is worth the $$ he is asking, especially given the upgrade he represents.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

hey, jeff: Agree, agree, agree

Kevin (Maine)

Mr. Matthews,I respectfully disagree with your article about Jeter and his anger about the negotiations. I do believe it should have been handled differently by the Yanks with regards to how public it was. Cashman's comment about the Yanks telling Jeter he is more than able to look at other offers, although true, didn't sound good in the media. And using other bad negotiations in the past as examples of why Jeter shouldn't be made is silly. If someone of color hears an inappropriate comment, should the response be, "Hey, if you think that is bad you should have heard what they did in the 50's". Jeter earned the right to not have the negotiations aired (by the Yanks) in the press.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

Hello, Kevin: Thank you for the thoughtful question and wel-reasoned dissenting opinion. In a perfect world, all negotiations would be private, all employees would be treated with dignity and respect by their employers and each of us should be rewarded for the loyalty and effort we give to our jobs every day. But that is not the world we live in, and my point in using the Mantle negotiation is to show how much more civilized this one was. I think a lot of us lost persepctive on this issue because of the emotionalism involved with derek Jeter. In truth, Cashman may have said some regrettable things -- altho saying "test the market" wasn;t one of them, in my opinion, merely his perhaps too-direct way of telling Jeter that this was th ebest deal he was going to get -- but this neg. was not in any wa out of the ordinary. It just got more attention because of who was involved. and I agree with you that none of us has the right to tell anyone else what to be angry about. I am paid, however, to give my opinion on these matters and IMHO, I thought Jeter had no real basis for his anger. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write

Jason (Long Island, NY)

Huge fan of your writing Wallace! What RP targets do you see the Yanks going after?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

Thank you, Jason. I think there;s still the possibility Kerry wood could be brought back, but the Yankees will not get into a bidding war if some other team wants him as a closer. other than that, I thought Pedro Feliciano might be a good fit, and as you probably know, Mark Prior may get a look as a set-up man

Mike (NYC)

All Jeter needs to do is go out and have a better season than he did last year and all this stuff will go away and then he can be the good poster boy again. Thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:28 PM)

Hey, Mike. Absolutely true. This will fade into distant memory -- as long as he has a good April. Otherwise, beware

Chuck (NY)

Would a package starting with Joba and Gardner have any chance to get Grienke? I would rather see them go after him and sign crawford than to get sign Lee to a long term contract

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

Hey, Chuck. I must say that is an innovative plan yuou have come up with, but I still think the yankees are drunk on Lee and will do almost anything to sign him, even the dreaded seven-year hitch. We have all heard, of course, about Greinke's psychological issues and his unwillingness toplay in NY, but those things are known to disapear for the right amount of moolah. And a package of Joba and Gardner would have to be attractive to any team. Throw in Nova? Then I think you got a winner

Wes (NC)

Why didn't the Yankees stick to 3 years 45 mil? No one else would pay Jeter that much.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:31 PM)

Hey, Wes. I've wondered that myself. Maybe the Yankees ddn;t treat jeter as disrespectfully as a lot of people, incl. jeter, want to believe

John (Stamford)

Why are you comparing the Jeter situation to a contract dispute from 53 years ago?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

Hey, John. Just to draw a contrast between what is considered a horrible negotiation now and what was considered business as usual back then. And believe me, Mantle's case is just one of many throughout Yankees, and baseball, history

mike (long island)

is the only way the yankees get both lee and crawford if pettitte retires? or is there another way?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

Yes. M-O-N-E-Y

Wallace Matthews
  (12:33 PM)

Sorry, guys, gotta wrap it up for today. Great trunout, great questions as always. I look forward to doing it again next week