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February 9, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:53 AM)

Hello everyone and welcome to the final off-season Yankee chat. Next week we'll do this from (hopefully sunny and warm) Tamps as we officially begin the Pre-Season. and at some point, we'll actually get to the season and, er, like, the games, you know? In the meantime, we've got a few more weeks to guess, speculate, predict and take wild stabs in the dark. As always, we'll get started right at noon

Lawrence (Toronto)

Will Andy Pettitte's number be retired?

Wallace Matthews
  (11:58 AM)

Hello, Lawrence. Yankees haven;t said yet but they have said it won;t be given to anyone this year. (too bad, Bartolo Colon). But I would think any player with the post-season history Pettitte has had with this team has a great shot to get his number on the wall. Problem is, Yankees are running out of numbers to be worn by active players

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will be the Starting Rotation for the Yankees since Andy Pettitte Retired?

Wallace Matthews
  (11:59 AM)

Chrsi, I'm wincing as I write this but right now it looks like CC, Hughes, AJ, Nova and the survivor the cage match between Mitre, Colon and Garcia. Scary

Eric (Boston)

Ia??ve heard some conflicting reports regarding Brackman. Do you see him as a legit contender for a place in the rotation this season or does he need more work in the minors?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:03 PM)

Hi Erci. I'll take both your questions here. I don;t think Brackman's a legit contender for this season unless things become absolutely desperate. He has great potential but remember, he has never even pitched in AAA. And I don;t need to remind you that the NYY is not OJT (On the Job Training). You show up big-league ready or you don;t show up at all. As for Aceves, the Yankees obviously has concerns about the back injury that kept him out for five months of the season. Having had a lower back injury that required surgery, I can tell you they are tricky and prone to flare up at any time. And no, my slider has never been the same

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

Is it true that A-Rod will be naming his next son Hank?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:04 PM)

Wouldn;t be a bad idea. I know for a fact it won't be Derek. Or Brian. Or Dallas. Or Braden. Or Joe as in Torre. or Jason. Have I left anyone out?

Joe S. (NYC)

Is it true that Lonn Trost has initiated a payment scale for using bathroom stalls at Yankee Stadium? My understanding is that premium games will incur a $5 usage fee and all other games are $3. Can you confirm?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

If he hasn;t already you just gave him a hell of an idea. and just think, he could actually price it based on the urgency of need. The worse you have to go, the more you have to pay. You should ask for a percentage of the take

Walt (New Brunswick)

Let's get this out of the way...Gary Sheffield is not coming back, not now, not ever.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

are you sure?

Randy (NYC)

Hey Wally, With giving these open flyers to guys like Colon (again), Prior, Garcia, etc. I don't see how we didn't just bring back Aceves for 650,000 when the guy was a pretty reliable pitcher. Not to mention we let him go to our division rival. I'm sure people will say that Cashman must know something about his ailments but I think it was a no brainer to bring him back.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

I think you provided your own answer. Cashman and the Yankees must know more about Ace's back injury than they;ve let on. They also may have some questions about what really happened when he broke his collarbone in mexico in what was said to be a biking accident. Motorbike? Who knows

Matt (Florida)

Any truth to the rumor that Joba has gained the 30 lbs. that CC lost? Not good if true.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

If Joba can just gain an ounce or two of CC's poise and guts he can get as fat as David Wells for all anyone will care

A-Rod (Texas)

Why can't the paparazzi leave me alone? Why should I feed myself popcorn when my girlfiend can do it for me?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:08 PM)

I feel ya, bro. Happens to me all the time

Matt (Florida)

Are the Yankees planning on keeping Montero in the minors for a while to save themselves a year of arbitration?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:09 PM)

Don;t think so. I belive the plan is for him to be on the roster as backup DH/backup C for Posada and Martin. The Yankees love his bat right now, are willing to wait for his glove to come around

Phil (NYC)

What is your take on Boston's acquisition of Aceves and their view of him as a starter?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:10 PM)

I think he's a solid bullpen guy if healthy, a useful long reliever but esp with that rotation, not starter material. Who would he displace? And BTW, the key words are "if healthy"

Robert D (Wilmington, NC)

Does pitching prospect Adam Warren have a chance to break camp with the varsity squad? Maybe as a long-relief or even the fifth starter spot...?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

it would be a longshot at best, not only for Warren but for Brackman, Banuelos and Betances, none of whom have ever pitched higher than AA. Again, the Yankees are not a training ground for future MLers. they are a destination for finished products

Jon (Jersey)

CC Sabathia has lost 30 pounds this offseason. How much of an impact will that make to the already great Yankee ace?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:13 PM)

I think it can only be good, esp. for a guy who just had knee surgery. and as great as sabathia was last year, he often looked to be laboring in the second half of games. Getting in better shape: Always. A. Good. Thing

Miguel (Relative Obscurity, USA)

Wally! Thanks for the chat. So IF Pujols does not reach an agreement by 2-16 and goes to free agency, AND C.C. opts out - do the Yanks try to sign both, with Prince Albert sharing DH duties with Teix? Or put another way, if Pujols is a free agent how can the Yankees NOT sign him!?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

Hello, Miguel and you;re welcome. You could ave asked the same question about Cliff Lee. How could the Yankees not sgn him? Because as amazing as it may seem, sometimes it's not their call. Don;t know if Pujols would want to leave St.L and ocme to NY. But anything is possible. I think it all depends on what happens this year. The last time the Yankees missed the playoffs, they spent a half-billion dollars in the off-season to get back. It could happen again if the crap out in '11

Yankee Bob (Long Island, NY)

have the yankees explored any chien ming wang possibility? if he can fix his issues, why not look at reacquiring him?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:17 PM)

Bob, I believe the Yankees thing Wang's injury is a permanent one and he will never be the pitcher he was four or five years ago. I get that impression from conversations with front ofice types. Believe me, if they thought he had anything left, you would think they would have made a run at bringing him back considering their SP woes right now

Robert D (Wilmington, NC)

If the Marlins were to struggle in a tough NL East, would the Yankees go after and would the Marlins be willing to make a deal for Josh Johnson?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:18 PM)

you mean if they're in a battle for the cellar with the Mets? (Only kidding). anything is possible but there's too many ifs there right now to make a call. Surely Johnson is a pitcher the Yankees could be interested in

robert (newark, nj)

with the retirement of andy pettite do you think the starting rotation is going to be solid enough to do damage? or will it take a midseason trade or pickup solidify the rotation?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

I think a lot of things have to go very right for this rotation to be adequate, starting, of course, with AJ Burnett. There's questions about Hughes, too, and nobody has seen enough of Nova to really be convinced he has what it takes to go out there ever five days all season long. My gut says the Yankees will be scrambl,ing for a starter around the trade deadline

Wade (Platte Bend, TX)

Wally, am I the only one concerned that from June on, Phil Hughes looked more like a 5th starter than a #2, last year? It seemed like second time through the league batters had adjusted and Phil's fastball looked flatter and was catching more and more of the plate.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:22 PM)

You certainly are not. The Yankees are aware of Hughes' dropoff in the second half, which is one of the reasons they so strictly enforced the innings limit. Their hope is that it was merely the normal developmental process of a 24-year-old starter and not something more dire, like what you mentioned

Brian (NY, NY)

What in your opinion is the Yanks' plan for Montero if in fact he can't play behind the plate? Long-term DH or trade chip?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:23 PM)

Yes. (only kidding). as of now, the Yankees expect Montero to develop into an everyday catcher, and if he doesn;t, he could serve either of the roles you mention. However, the Yankees love his bat so much -- Kevin Long told me yesterday he thinks Montero can be an impact player at the plate this year -- they will do everything possible, I believe, to avoid trading him

Joe (New York)

Who do think will be the starting catcher on opening day?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

Unless the knee fails to heal in time, I expect it wil be Martin

jen Parrish (tigard oregon)

Now that ace is gone to who is the long man out of our pin

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

Hi, Jen. That is a role to be won in spring training and right now, without Ace or Chad Gaudin, Mop Up Man, there doesn;t appear to be a clear-cut candidate. I would guess Mitre assuming Colon or Garcia beats him out for No. 5 spot

Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)

Cashman- does he re-sign OR is he working on his exit strategy to go have TRUE baseball operational control elsewhere?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

Don;t know what is in Cashman's mind regarding that but while it may look atractive to move on and prove your street cred as a GM sans checkbok, being GM of the Yankees is kind of like being Pres. of the US. I mean, what do you do for an encore? I think Cashman will weight the pluses and minuses and realize there's no better situation in MLB than the one he's in

Eric (NY, NY)

Two part question. Part one, As a reporter what is your favorite part of the beginning of spring training and what is the worst (besides leaving your family for an extended period)? Part two, if someone wanted to become a reporter/media type in sports best piece of advice you could give them (other than don't do it)

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

Hi, Eric. Favorite part is getting out of the miserable NY weather, although it can be chilly in Tampa, esp when clubhouse opens at 8:30 am. Worst part is leaving the family for so long, and also the monotony of the days. After you;ve written on everyone in the room, there's still like three weeks left to go and you;re ready for the season to start. Advice to budding sports writer: Become an expert in the sport you want to write about. anyone can learnt to be a serviceable writer, but knowledge makes you indispensable. I did it when I started as a boxing writer. I'm trying to do it now in baseball, but it ain;t easy

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

Thanks, peeps, but my time is up for this week. sorry for all the questions I dind;t get to. We'll do this next week from The George. Until then, cheers