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February 8, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (12:59 PM)

OK, gang, ready to go?

jeremy (israel)

do the yanks actually think that montero can play catcher? if so, it was a bad trade. they have no other hitting prospects ready to help their aging lineup and now they have a surplus of starters (plus 2 in the minors who will be ready to join the rotation in a couple of months).

Wallace Matthews
  (1:02 PM)

Jeremy, they say they do. In fact, it was the first question I asked of Cashman on the conference call the night of the trade. But you have to wonder if over the past couple of months, the Yankees opinion of Montero changed somewhat because as promising as Pineda is, he's not yet the elite quality pitcher Cashman had said it would take to pry montero loose from them. I think this is a trade that has to be given a few years before you can judge it fairly, but as a I wrote in a column right after the deal, if Montero develops into an everyday catcher and hits the way the Yankees think he will, it will be very difficult for Pineda to live up to his end unless he wins a Cy or two

Alex (Anaheim)

Are the Yankees any closer to a DH?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:03 PM)

don;t think so. I believe they are waiting out Ibanez, Damon and Matsui to see who blinks first and accepts bet. $1M and $2M, a fraction of what each played for last year. and right now, I think it's a little too early for anyone to blink

Onel (Florida)

The yankees shouldnt get Damon, or Ibanez. They are a waste of money and space in the line-up. Don't get me wrong i am very appreciative for what Damon did for the Yankees but both Damon and Ibanez havent been able to produce like they did years ago. We have key players that we can trade to get a young aggresive hitter.

Wallace Matthews
  (1:05 PM)

I agree with that unless one of them comes way way down in his financial demands. still, I think Chavez makes the most sense for them because he is younger, like the others is a LH bat and unlike the others can fill in at 3B for A-Rod, who is undoubtedly going to need time off. And there does seem to be a surplus of trading chips both in the farm system and on the roster. (Take AJ. Please. anyone.

adam (jersey)

which current yankee could u see playing pro-footballGardner?Granderson?Sabathia?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:06 PM)

CC maybe could make a nose tackle or maybe a DE. The other guys, maybe running backs or DBs. But really, if you can play in MLB, with its guaranteed contracts and lower risk of injury, you;d have to be nuts to choose the NFL instead

Mrs Matthwes (NY)

Burnett and Phelps/Warren for Carlos Lee. Makes sense to me.

Wallace Matthews
  (1:07 PM)

Does Burnett make sense for anyone? (Will you be home for dinner, Missus?)

James (Yonkers)

What will the Yanks do with there starting rotation? Is it solid enough to win another world series?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:08 PM)

My guess: CC, Nova, Pineda, Kuroda, Freddy. and it's certainly better than last year's on paper, but then, last year's pitched well enuf to get them to the ALCS. It was the lineup that couldn;t come up with the timely hit against Detroit to get them out of the DS

George Herman (Baltimore, Md)

Do you see the Yanks retiring any of the following players numbers (O'neil, Williams, Torre, Andy P or Sojo)

Wallace Matthews
  (1:10 PM)

Torre, yes, Pettitte probably, Bernie possibly, O'Neill maybe. But Sojo? Seriously? No no.

Alex (Richmond, VA)

Why is everybody so obsessed with getting a DH?? Wouldn't it be better for the salary to keep the lineup the way it is and give the aging fielders some rest?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:11 PM)

theoretically yes but they do need a LH bat off the bench. That is one thing they lack. It seems like they have a bench-full of RH DH's waiting to happen.

Ian (Atl, GA)

Do you think there will be a true and fair competition for the 5th starter's job in the spring. I have a bad feeling that the combination of Hughes success in the bullpen and A.J.'s contract will make this unfair for Hughes, even though when healthy, Hughes is most likely the best option since he is a balance between present and future success in the rotation based on his age and previous flashes of dominance as a starter as well. What are your thoughts on this "competition"??

Wallace Matthews
  (1:13 PM)

You never know with spring training competitions, or if they are on the level. I thought Bartolo clearly outpitched Freddy last spring and yet Freddy got the No. 5 job and Bartolo got the pen. That was based largely on Freddy's never having pitched in relief. The same thing could happen with Hughes. Or, he might become trade bait if Freddy wins the spot and the Yankees are forced to send AJ to the pen, because the conventional wisdom is he and his albatross contract are untradeable

George (NY)

After years of seeing Boston continue to win championships in football, baseball, basketball and hockey, I think we are about to see 2012 bring things back down to earth and make New York once again the premier sports town. Giants, Rangers, Yankees. Let's do this!

Wallace Matthews
  (1:13 PM)

And your question is?????

Eric (NY, NY)

Predictions time. How many wins for the Yankees, RedSox, Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles? Who makes the playoffs across MLB? (Not asking who advances/wins World Series yet)

Wallace Matthews
  (1:15 PM)

Eric, I luv ya but if I could see into the future like that I'd make my living at the racetrack. I think the Yankees are as good and perhaps a win or two better than they were last year, which puts them bet 97-99. Red Sox have a lot to prove but Bobby V should improve them by a couple of games. Put them in low to mid-90s. Maddon will always bring TBR in at 90-95. Can;t predict the other two. My head hurts now from all this future gazing.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Who hits the most homers and has the highest batting average this year for the Yanks?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:15 PM)

I'm gonna say Cano leads in BA, Tex in HRS. But don;t ask me how many, please

Jon (New Jersey)

Wally, even with the acquisition of Pineda, will the Yanks still make a run at one of the big time pitchers next year should they hit the market?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:17 PM)

Well, I guess it depends upon two things: Performance and need. Remember, Kuroda is only on a one-year deal, and if Pineda doesn;t do as well as expected, the Yankees will certainly give the market a look. They might anyway because of the (very true) cliche that you can never have enough pitching

Brandon (Roanoke,Va)

Do you think the secondary pieces in the Montero/Pineda trade(Campos/Noesi) will be the bigger story in three years?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:18 PM)

Well, I know the Yankees were very high on Noesi and Campos comes highly recommended so anything is possible. But I think if they do become the bigger story, it will mean one or both of the principles in the deal turned out to be a bust. That would be a pretty big story, too

Eric (NY, NY)

One more and then I will leave you alone...the one retired Yankee who is eligible for HOF, not in, deserves to be in is?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:20 PM)

Wow. Mattingly and Munson fall short due to brevity of careers in Munson;s case (not his fault of course, but it is what it is) and not quite enough good seasons from Mattingly because of injury (also not his fault). I guess someone could make a case for Elston Howard. And remember, any of these guys could still get in through the Phil Rizzutto Portal, aka the Veterans Committee

Logan V (Shippensburg)

Ibanez will be 40 this year....I know he's just the DH but how productive can he be?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:20 PM)

Exactly

Chad (Long Island)

How many games do you see NunEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE playing this year?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:22 PM)

ManEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. In spite of all the Es, Cashman and Girardi seem to love him. It all depends, I think, on A-Rod's health and durability, neither of which seem very reliable

Matt (DC)

Hi Wally, what do you think of Brandon Laird? As much as i like Chavez the DL is inevitable, and Laird could fill in at third against righties then Damon(whoever) can DH

Wallace Matthews
  (1:23 PM)

Haven;t seen enough to make a judgment on that yet, but I think you'd be asking a lot of a kid that green to fill in for A-Rod, who is likely to need a significant amount of time off this season.

Jay (NY)

WHat do you do with Phil Hughes now? Is there even room for him the bullpen, barring injury? For RH'ers, you've already got: Rivera, Robertson, Soriano, Chamberlin...

Wallace Matthews
  (1:24 PM)

Yeah, I think so, esp since Joba is not likely to return until after the ASB. But the pen is a crowded place with a lot of good arms so I keep thinking Phil might be trade bait come July

Jon (New Jersey)

If Cervelli struggles as the backup catcher, how soon do you think the Yankees bring Romine up?

Matt (DC)

Austin Romine makes the team out of spring training?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:26 PM)

To answer both of you, it is possible. I think as much as the Yankees love Cervelli's attitude and hustle, they know they need to upgrade there. Obviously, Romine was Montero's superior behind the plate but much his inferior at bat. Girardi, however, values defense much more than offense in a catcher so I think he has a shot to make it. But remember this about Cervelli -- he always comes to camp in great shape and usually plays well. he also usually gets hurt

jj (salem, ma)

Wally - do you think signing Branyan to a minor league deal (just annc'd) takes them out of the running for Damon, Ibanez etc.?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:28 PM)

Don't know. The Yankees haven;t seemed too hot for any of those guys anyway, at least not at the asking prices. They may have signed Branyan to put some heat under Damon, Ibanez and Matsui -- and Chavez for that matter -- and make them re-think their demands because obviously, the window for a LH DH is closing

Andrew (metuchen, NJ)

Do you see the pirates making a move for burnett? or anyone for that matter

Wallace Matthews
  (1:29 PM)

I don't, but stranger things have happened. And as much as Hal hates the taste of his own money, I'm sure he could be convinced to eat many millions to be rid of AJ

Dom (NY)

Did the Yanks signing of Jim Hendry have anything to do with Cashman's situation? Not that he would replace him, or that he's in danger of losing his job, but that Cashman may be called await to testify for an undetermined period of time and Hendry would be a competent backup while he was away.

Wallace Matthews
  (1:30 PM)

Don;t know but the timing of the hire certainly was interesting. Then again, judging by the job he did in Chicago, I think Yankee fans ought to wish long and hard for a swift and quiet settlement to Cashman's, er, "incident."

Javy (NY)

What exactly are the Yankees hoping to get out of Bill Hall? Isn't Nunez our super utility guy right now?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:30 PM)

I thought so. The deal made no sense to me either.

Alex (Anaheim)

It's really going to cost $55 to park near the Stadium, huh?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:31 PM)

If it was 35 last year, eventually, sure. So take the subway

Newton (NY)

Why isn't Tommy John in the HOF?

Wallace Matthews
  (1:32 PM)

he's in the surgical hall of fame

Wallace Matthews
  (1:32 PM)

Thanks guy, plenty of great questions today, many more waiting, sorry I didn;t get to them all. We'll do it again next week and then, it;s off to spring training