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December 14, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:59 AM)

Quiet morning so far. Nothing really to chat about. Yeah, right. We'll get started at high noon

Cliff Lee (Philadelphia, PA)

What should I do?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:00 PM)

Try the cheesesteak. I hear its very good

Jason (Long Island, NY)

Wow that Phillies rotation just got scarier! Where do the Yanks go from here? I don't see them getting Greinke and even with Andy's possible return, is there anyone they can look at to fill a need for at SP?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:02 PM)

Hey, Jason. Obviously the Yankees have needs and a pocketfl of unused cash and that combination usually results in something. unfortunately, not much out there SP-wise on FA market. (No, I will not scare you by dropping in a CARL PAVANO). Yanks will probably have to go the trade route and with apparent acquisition of Russell Martin, might be willing to put Jesus Montero back on the market for a starter. Problem is, who is available? Brian Cashman will talk to the media at 12:30 and might provide a clue, but I doubt it

Chris (Chicago, IL)

If Cliff Lee doesn't want to be a Yankee, then we don't want him...especially for 7 years! I believe the Yankees as currently constructed are a 92-98 win team and likely a playoff team. However, their rotation will scare no one in the playoffs. Will there be any big names/arms available at the trade deadline that could bolster the staff like Oswalt did for Philly or Sabathia for Milwaukee in 2008?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

Chris, I couldn;t have said it better myself. if a guy is reluctant/hesitant/negative about playing for a particular team, it is foolish to try to convince him otherwise. (I know, Sabathia didn;t want to come here, etc. but I believe guys like him -- who thrivre here anyway-- are the exception rather than the rule. Next question is impossible to answer right now bec. naturally it depends on where certain teams are in the race come mid-to-late July. Who knows? Maybe the Philles will be 20 games back and Lee will be on the block for the fourth time in the last three years. (Only kidding!)

bradley Tatz (scarsdale)

what are the yankees going to do without lee

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

Hey, bradley. Simple answer: try to get someone else. Much harder to determoine who that will be. But the Yankees have 50,000 very expensive seats to fill on a nightly basis and of necessity will find someone to keep alive the perception that they are a WS contender, which really is the only way to fill a ballpark in this town anymore

Howard (Bayside)

if Ivan Nova is the 5th starter, he will have the innings limit? Would the Yanks consider giving Joba the 5th Spot, if Wood is resigned?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:08 PM)

Hey, Howard. I would assume Nova will have an innings limit because that is what the yankees have done the past few seasons with young starters. as for Joba, Cashman has said unequivocally that he's a reliever now, period. Don;t think he will be a candidate for No. 5. Do think he will be a candidate fr 8th inning again if two things happen: 1) Wood goes somewhere else; and 2) Joba doesn;t get traded

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

Can Jeter pitch?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:09 PM)

Ha! Just what the Yankees need. Another 37-year-old arm in the rotation

Sam (Harrington Park, NJ)

Does the signing of Russ Martin, mean the end of Jesus Montero in pinstripes? Will Cashman try to put together a package for King Felix or another pitcher?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

Hey, Sam. I don;t think Martin necessarily means adios for Montero, but it certainly opens up the possibility of using him in a trade for a SP. he is a very attractive commodity for a lot of teams and probably can fetch something good in return if packaged with the right guy. as for Felix, my understanding is he is not available at this point.

Craig (Lindsay, ON)

Wallace, two questions. Is Carlos Zambrano a viable option for a trade for the Yanks? And should they consider turning every game into a 6 inning game and throw a huge one or two year contract to both Kerry Wood and Rafael Soriano? I know they both want to close but money talks (or maybe it doesn't anymore) and they both could be intrigued by becoming the closer for 2013.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:14 PM)

Hey, Craig. Interesting question. Zambrano and new pitching coach Rothschild know each other quite well, and Larry had good things to say about Carlos on the call to introduce him last month. Whether the Yankees want to add another head case to a pitching staff that already has too many is another issue, but if Rothschild thinks he can keep him under control, it might be worth exploring. Second point is also a good one. Shortening the game will be imperative if they don;t obtain another front-line starter. So far, wood does;t seem to have attracted that much attention as a closer from other teams and could be a possibility to return. Yanks would love to have Soriano at the back end of the pen as well, bec. he also povides insurance should anything happen to Mo. But they still need two and maybe three more guys to pitch those first six innings

David (CT)

Wallace. What's the latest on Kerry Wood, do you think he will be returning to the Yankees? Also in terms of the bullpen who do you think the Yankees will get, do you think they will get Pedro Feliciano from the Mets?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

hey, david. I know the yankees would like to bring back Wood but not at closer-type prices. remember, they rejected his $11 million option and did not offer him arbitration. But at the right price, I could see him coming back as the 8th inning guy., As for Feliciano I have been saying fror a couple of weeks he might be a good fit as the second lefty arm in the pen. Now that the Jeter and Lee dramas have run their course, I expect to see guys of that caliber being picked up by the Yankees

Jeff (Atlanta, GA (but a NYer at heart))

Wally, what the crap! How did the Phillies jump in and grab Lee with a 5-year contract offer? What do the Yankees do now? Looks like Garza and Greinke are two possible trade options. I would prefer Garza.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:18 PM)

hey, jeff. apparently the money was close enuf -- don;t believe the Yankee spin that Lee left a ton of chips on thye table -- that Lee and his family chose to play in a city they like as opposed to a city where they might not have had thre friendliest of experiences. I'm not saying that's the only factor, but anyone who discounts what happened to Lee's wife at Yankee Stadium in the ALCS either isn't married or doesn't care about things like that. As to your second question, Greinke is probably not an option; Yankees fear his social-anxiety problems will cause him to be a disaster in the bronx. between the two, garza is far more likely

Edwin (Bronx)

Why is Russel assumed to be the Yankees starting catcher? Even if Montero gets traded for a front line starter wouldnt romine or gary sanchez be in the battle for the starting spot in spring training?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

Hey, Edwin. I don;t think anyone is assuming that and in fact, I am hedging all bets until we hear from Cashman today at 12;30. But based on his experience and track record, you would have to think Montero has to have a great spring -- and also, not become a chip in a trade for a front-line starter -- to wrest the starting job away from him. My understanding is Romine and Sanchez aren;t quite ready yet. But who knows? Jobs have been won in spring trainging by guys you never would have suspected before

Rex Wood (Belleview,NY)

Will Joba contribute and in what way? He has too good an arm to waste. Gardner?? Thoughts

Wallace Matthews
  (12:22 PM)

Hello, rex: I think the Yankees would like to give Joba another shot at the eighth-inning role if they can;t re-sign Kerry Wood or obtain someone like Soriano. As for Gardner, I believe the left-field job remains his -- the Yanks passing on Crawford pretty much confirms that -- but you have to wonder if his wrist wil be fully healed for the opening of spring training. The Yankees say it will. we'll see

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

Lee- does he make Phil rotation best EVER in the game? also- how many wins does that team throw up this year- 110-115-120..?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

Hey, Tony. He certainly makes it one of the best ever in December. Hate to make those kind of pronouncements three months before the frst pitch is thrown, but on paper that rotation looks scary. And how much do you think Lee will love throwing to NL hitters -- and pitchers -- again?

Brendan (Baltimore)

Wally- what are the chances the Yankees look at Brandon Webb? Seems like a pretty low risk/high reward, and he'll be much cheaper than you-know-who

Wallace Matthews
  (12:25 PM)

Hey, brendan. I think the Yankees will look at a lot of guys of that caliber now that they have money to play with and a couple of holes to fill. In some ways, I felt like losing lee was a relief to them because they weren;t crazy about commiting another 7 years to a starting pitcher, not even Cliff Lee. This at least gives them a little more flexibility, and of course, there's always a lot of guys avalaiable at the trade deadline

Randy (NYC)

Wow that sucks that we didn't get Lee. What's more annoying then listening to all these rumors now is people speculating that we are signing Felix (not happening) or that we are trading for Greinke (not happening). We got Martin. Now lock up Wood and Felicano and take it from there. Really our fall back plan is to have AJ pitch like it's a contract year.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

Hey, Randy. Love your scenario. Only one problem., Its not a contract year for AJ and anyway, I doubt it's that simple. But suddenly, Larry Rothschild has become an Awfully Important Yankee because it's up to him to crack the combination into that steel trap that is AJ Burnett's skull. If he can straighten out AJ and Pettitte comes back for one more, this may not be quite so dire as it appears right now

Matt (NJ)

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I'm glad Lee didn't sign w/ the Yankees. He would have been pitching as a 39 year old. Can't people see this? Short term, it sucks. Long term, it's for the best.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

Matt, you;re right but most fans only look at what guys can help them right now witout thinking about the long-term effects. Right now, the Yankees are stuck with a handful of potential albatross contracts -- A-Rod, AJ, Jeter, even CC if he breaks down or somehow loses his effectiveness. the last thing they needed was to be saddled with another middle-aged pitcher (lee will be 33 during the season) for seven more years. One or two, fine. Seven? Potential disaster

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

Sorry guys, that's all I have time for today. Casman conference call coming up right now; more info on ESPNNewYork.com later. Thanks!