Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 30, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (1:58 PM)

Ladies and gentlemen, Opening Day is finally upon us. What more is there to be said? Play ball!

carl raleigh nc [via mobile]

hey wally from what i ve seen colon has looked good is he the front runner for the 5th spot and what would his stats be with 25 plus starts and healthy

Wallace Matthews
  (2:00 PM)

Carl, the fight is over for now. Despite how well Bartolo pitched all spring, Garcia is No. 5, Colon's in the pen, and I would assume if Garcia fails Colon would take over the spot. But with Kevin Millwood looming in Triple A, anything is possible with that final roster spot.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

How do you think that Freddy Garcia will do wit the Yankees?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:03 PM)

Hi, Chris. I really don;t know. it will be interesting to see how he manages to get away with the stuff he got away with in the AL Central against the clubs in the AL East. The thing the Yankees like about him is despite his lack of a FB or much real snap on his curveball, he gives you innings and manages, or at least managed last year, to keep his team in ballgames long enough for them to win. Maybe he'll be able to do it with the Yankees, too, because their lineup is certainly strong enuf to overcome the typical Freddy outing, six innings or so and 4-5 runs per game

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

Do you think Lonn Trost's strategy to double the price of beer after the sixth inning will reduce the number of drunk fans at games this year?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:04 PM)

probably not. they'll just get drunk earlier

Joe S. (NYC)

As Jeter closes in on 3,000 hits, do you think fans will be upset when screens are raised throughout the stadium for his at-bats to keep balls from going in the stands?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:06 PM)

No. I think yankees fans have gotten used to putting up with all sorts of indignites. After paying the $35 parking fee, they'll be too numb to complain about anything else

Benny (Bronx)

When Russell Martin inevitably gets hurt, what are the chances Hank decides the best long-term solution is to extend Posada's contract three more years?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:06 PM)

Much better than the chances that Girardi will actually allow him to catch a game

Mitch (Hamilton)

Hi Wally,Which of the 3 "B's" do you think will have the best major league career?Thanks

Wallace Matthews
  (2:08 PM)

Tough question. For sheer stuff, I'd say Banuelos, but his lack of size worries me a bit. His mechanics look sound enough, though. Betances and Brackman both showed flashes of real potential, too, but both seem to have more trouble repeating their deliveries than Banuelos at this point in their development. Gun to my head, right now, I say Banuelos

Max (IA)

How did Jeter look overall this spring? Bounceback? Stay the same? decline is on?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:09 PM)

I thought he looked better. hit more line drives, put more balls into the air, less on the ground. I expect some degree of bounceback, say between .290-.300, .360 OBP, but I doubt we;ll ever see another season like 2009 from him

Lawrence (Toronto)

Do you see Mariano hitting the 600 save mark this season?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:11 PM)

It is certainly possible considering he's saved 40+ six times in his career, and theoretically at least, the presence of Soriano should create more save opportunities for him. The question is, does Girardi try to lighten his workload by giving some of those saves to Soriano? remains to be seen

joe (argentina)

mike mussina is throwing out the first pitch tomorrow.i say right now he is better than nova,garcia,colon,and burnett.does he get your vote for the hall of fame??

Wallace Matthews
  (2:13 PM)

tough call. Borderline at best. Only one 20 win season, no Cy Young, ERA a trifle high. On the plus side, no PEDs. This is one I will think long and hard about when the time comes

Eric (Not paying $35 for parking)

RedSox/Yankees/White Sox/As from the AL; Brewers/Phillies/Braves/Giants from the NL. What say you?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:14 PM)

I like your NL picks. In the AL, I'll take Texas over As

Adam (Los Angeles)

What is the final Yankees roster? And what are your thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:16 PM)

Luis Ayala makes the team as the 12th pitcher in place of Feliciano. Molina (for now) is the backup catcher. Not sure yet about Granderson. If he can;t go, then Dickerson is the reserve OF.Overall, I think the bullpen and bench are better than last year, the lineup roughly the same, the SP obviously a huge question mark. Eric Chavez is a find; Andruw Jones could be this year's Randy Winn. Not convinced Soriano is going to be a good fit. And who knows what you get out of Freddy/Bartolo?

Person who can feel the groundswell (DC)

With the regular season one day away, what are some things that you are observing closely in this first month as a barometer of how the season will go? (excluding wins and losses, of course)

Wallace Matthews
  (2:17 PM)

Obviously: AJ, Freddy, Jeter, Posada as DH, Soriano's role in bullpenLess obviously: Phil Hughes (can he repeat'10?), Teixeira (will he finally play ball in April), Joba

Gary Sheffield's agent (Miami)

If I can convince my client to come out of retirement, do you see the Yankees signing him as a much needed DH, power hitter type??

Wallace Matthews
  (2:18 PM)

Sure, why not? It's 2005 all over again in the Bronx

Jesse Foster (NY, NY )

Do you believe King Felix will be in pinstripes by the end of July?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:19 PM)

No. Can;t see Mariners giving this guy at this point

Jesse Foster (NY, NY )

What % do you give the Yankees to win their division/world series?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:20 PM)

I'd say 50-50 for the division, 90% for the WC, and once you get to October, they have as good a chance as anyone

Jesse Foster (NY, NY )

I believe the Yankees are actually a very strong team. There lineup can slug with the best of them and they arguably have the best bullpen in baseball. I think people are putting too much into the 4th and 5th spot. Nova/Garcia a better then people believe, agree?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:21 PM)

Agree with most of that, and I must say that Nova, who did not impress me as much as he impressed the Yankees last year, looked much improved in a couple of spring outings. I'm a believer now. As for Freddy, I think he's released by June

Ron (NYC)

I understand that Boston is better this year with the acquisition of Gonzo and Crawford, but I feel like not one talks about the fact that they no longer have Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre (who was their best hitter last season). Is losing them really going to have that small of an impact? Thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:22 PM)

absolutely correct. Boston made gains, also suffered losses, and although no Red Sox fan wants to admit it, their starting rotation has almost as many question marks as the Yankees. at this point, Josh Beckett = AJ Burnett

Jamie (Baltimore)

Is tomorrow's game going to get cancelled? I'm wondering if its worth the trip or not.

Wallace Matthews
  (2:24 PM)

Right now the forecast looks lousy but I think they will do everything they can to get the game in, including soaking the fans one more time. And as you know, weather forecasting is a very inexact sciece. If you;ve already got tix, I would show up. If not, wait for a better day

Jeremy (Boston)

didnt catch your Postseason predictions for 2011, can to share?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:25 PM)

Actually, didn;t do em because I was too busy with daily stuff.My AL East: Red Sox/Yankees WC/Jays/Rays/Orioles

Chris (Staten Island)


Wallace Matthews
  (2:26 PM)

NO. AND WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING AT ME?Seriously, I don;t think so unless the team is truly in dire straits and sees him as the only way to remain in contention. Too valuable an arm to risk and too green a prospect to throw in there without compelling reasons

Adam (NY)

How bad is Montero's defense really? I saw him play a few times during spring and he looked no worse than Posada has over the last few years when the Yankees were successful. Is he really that bad? Is having a good defensive catcher somewhat overrated anyways?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:27 PM)

Bad enough that he didn;t win a spot that was practically his for the taking when Cervelli went down. I would ask Girardi your question about the overrating of the defensive catcher, but since he was a defensive catcher himself, I'd put on the gear first

Adam (NY)

How long does Tex have to struggle before Girardi switches him and Cano in the lineup (assuming Cano isn't slumping)?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:28 PM)

Good question. Girardi was asked that several times during the spring, never dismissed it. If Tex strggles as badly this April as he has in the past, you might see that switch

Tim (New York)

I just read all the ESPN Predictions for this season and I would have to say about all of them had the Red Sox in the World Series and winning it as well. How can the yanks win the division?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:30 PM)

Predictions are worth about as much as the cyberspace they are written in. On paper, or on a web page, the Red Sox look better, but only a bit, than the yankees. I hate making predictions and avoided doing it this year because so many things can go wrong, or right -- guys get injured, underperform, overperform, trades are made, etc. -- that anyone who tells you he or she knows what is going to happen before a game is even played is a fool. My mama didn;t raise no fools

Felton (Long Branch, NJ)

Wally! Thanks for the chattage. OK, call me a paranoid Yankee fan but Phil Hughes didn't "wear down" last year as many have been saying, he basically became a 5th starter-performancewise after 65 or so innings. Should I be worried that a lot of people think this is our "real" #2?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:32 PM)

Yes, you should. Second half of last year it was clear hughes no longer had swing-and-miss stuff he had had earlier, and several scouts this spring noted his velocity was down. There's no guarantee he wins 18 again. In fact, I think you should be happy with 15. Which, BTW, is;t bad for a No.3, which is what he tchnically is

Jesse Foster (Ny, Ny)

Over/Under Yankees win 92 games?

Wallace Matthews
  (2:32 PM)

hate making predictions but I say 92 on the nose, and wild card

Wallace Matthews
  (2:33 PM)

Thanks all. Great questions as always. Do it again next week, when we finally have actual game results to discuss