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May 2, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:55 AM)

Happy Wednesday everyone. We'll get this chat going in a moment, so get your stuff together now.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that the Yankees will keep David Phelps in the Rotation when Andy Pettitte Returns?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:01 PM)

The answer to that question hinges on the performance of one man: Phil Hughes. Girardi has said he's not going to a 6-man rotation this year which means someone would have to move to make room for Phelps and right now Phil is the only candidate. And lets see how Phelps does tomorrow night before we start getting Hughes a chair in the bullpen, or a locker in Scranton

Amanda (NY)

Our pitching makes me cry. Our 3-5 batters in the lineup make me cry. I want to stop crying, help!

Wallace Matthews
  (12:01 PM)

Need a tissue?

Amanda (NY)

How many starts will Phelps make before we do something with Freddy that involves him not being on the team, or in the state, anymore.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:03 PM)

I think Freddy may be on his way regardless of what Phelps does. Pettitte is getting closer to coming back -- as long as he doesn;t get himself indicted for perjury this week (JK!) -- and once again, there's going to be a logjam in the rotation so barring a rash of injuries I don;t really see a way for Freddy to get back in. Trade bait? Maybe

Dom (NY)

Has anyone charted how many pitches Phil Hughes throws AFTER he gets 2 strikes on a batter? I'm stunned that Rothchild, Contreras, somebody hasn't worked with this guy on an out pitch.Right now he seems destined for the bullpen and will never become a starter for the Yanks .Your thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:06 PM)

That's been the knock on Hughes for the past couple of years, that he really doesn;t have a swing and miss pitch. You could see it in the first at-bat last night, I think he got 2 quick strikes on Endy Chavez and then needed like 5 more pitches before he finally got his to swing over a curveball. Similar thing happned with Markakis later but he's a better hitter than Chavez and got a base hit. This is one of the reasons the Yankees have emphasized the importance of Hughes developing his changeup, but he seems reluctant to use it ocnsistently. Still, I think the he has a longer leash in the rotation than some other guys because the Yankees have so much invested in his success, and he did look a bit better last night

Scott (NJ)

To say that Brian Cashman has had a terrible last 9 months is an understatement. My personal thoughtas are he is an average GM at best whose financial resources have allowed him to be more sucessful than he would be with a smaller payroll. It appears as though he knows very little about pitching in particular, the mistakes are too lengthy to list. Is there any chance he takes a hit for this grand pitching plan which has blown up in his face? Thegoal of getting under the 189 million by 2014 isn't looking good. What do you think?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:09 PM)

Cashman';s track record with pitchers has not been good but I would guess that if you analyzed pitching moves around the league his is not far off the ;league average, simply because pitchers are the most unpredictable part of any balclub. they get hurt, their mechanics get screwed up, their performance fluctuates much more than hitters. Look at Brian Sabean, Certfied Genius. How did his deal for Barry Zito turn out? I agree Cashman's luck -- and I do think the Pineda thing was simply terrible luck -- has been awful with pitchers lately, but I don;t think he'll take an immediate hit for this. The goal of $189 million by 2014, however, is in serious jeopardy because it depends so much on an affordable pitching staff. For that, he may get into some hot water

Jim Plowman (Buffalo, NY)

At what point are the Yankees going to realize Hughes belongs in the bullpen and bring up one of the kids from AAA to take Garcia's spot, he'll be just as terrible as the longman in the bullpen.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

The problem with that scenario is that the AAA kids have't developed as hoped. Banuelos has been on the DL, Betances can;t throw a strike, Adam Warren had a fair shot in the spring but wasn;t as good as Mitchell or Phelps. as for Freddy, I think you'll only see him in situations that used to call for Chad Gaudin. Mop Up Man. If at all

Sam (Jersey)

Predict Jeter's line at the end of the season?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

Tough call. he's had a great start, but what if his second half is as bad as his first half of 2011? What if he gets hurt again? He will be 38 years old in June. what if he simply wears down? OK, I'll play along. .302, 12 HRs, .385 OBP. Don;t hold me to it

Roger (Chapel Hill, NC)

Phil pitched pretty well last night, and is historically a slow starter. What kind of buffer will he have over the next couple of starts as he competes with Phelps? He has to be feeling the heat- do the Yankees even try to keep him past 2012?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:15 PM)

First of all, they definitely keep him, because having guys like him and Pineda and Phelps and, hopefully, Banuelos, Betances, or both, are key to meeting Hal's dictum of a $189 million payroll by 2014. If they have to shop for FA pitching, it simply can't be done. As for him feeling the heat, I think you saw that last night. He threw harder then he has all season, and all last season, and pitched the best he has in a long time. Still, it wasn;t quite good enough so you have to woner if simply hearing the footseps behind him is enough

Nick (NJ)

What do you think of Nunez's outfield play?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

After two games? About the same as his infield play. Seriously, he showed good instincts Monday night, and he showed his inexperience Tuesday night. But he is athletic and fearless so I think he can learn. Problem is, playing anywhere for the New York Yankees is not on-the-job training, so as soon as Gardner gets back, I don;t think we'll be seeing Nunie out there for awhile

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

After two games? About the same as his infield play. Seriously, he showed good instincts Monday night, and he showed his inexperience Tuesday night. But he is athletic and fearless so I think he can learn. Problem is, playing anywhere for the New York Yankees is not on-the-job training, so as soon as Gardner gets back, I don;t think we'll be seeing Nunie out there for awhile

Fred (Tampa)

I agree that the Yankees didn't get taken in the Pineda deal. It's implied that the Yankees did a MRI on Pineada's arm. Have we reached an age in MLB where teams will start doing dye injected MRI on players before trading or signing them to long-term contracts? Have you asked Cashman this?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:19 PM)

It's not "implied" that they did an MRI, its SOP before any free-agent deal is made and before any trade is finalized. I have asked Cashman, and other GMs, the question you pose and the answer is always the same: Players have no problem agreeing to a standard MRI but once you suggest sticking a needle into their moneymakers, they always say no. Cashman has told me he would never trade for or sign a player who refuses to take an MRI, but there's no way they can force someone who is not their property to go for the more invasive procedure

Andrew (Centereach, NY)

What Billy Beane/Barry Zito deal?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

My mistake. I meant Sabean, another CG. Got too wrapped up in my rant. sorry

Alex (DC)

Is it your impression that Phelps is going to get a legitimate chance to start (as in more than 1-2 starts), or is he simply a one-and-done stopgap? Seems that, given what Garcia and Hughes have provided, it behooves the Yanks to give him a few trys - it couldn't be much worse than what they have.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:21 PM)

I think he'll get a minimum of two starts, simply because Pettitte is not quite ready to return, and maybe more depending on whether or not Hughes gets his act together. But I think Hughes will have to be pretty bad -- and he did improve somewhat last night -- to lose his spot in the rotation, or Phelps will have to be very, very good

Brian (Florida)

With the constent back and forth to the bullpen garbage they have done with hughes his confidence has to be pretty shot at this time wouldnt it be best to back him and keep him in the rotation, ontop of the fact they havent scored very many runs in support of hughes, instead of moving him back to the pen again. To be honest he hasnt pitched great but he also hasnt been that bad it only a couple pitches he hasnt located well

Wallace Matthews
  (12:23 PM)

There's a school of thought that the Yankees' handling of Hughes and Joba is the reason they never fully developed, and the reason why the two remainign Killer B's are struggling. I don;t personally subscribe to it, but I agree he should stay in the rotation if for no other reason that they really don;t have a better alternative yet. Not having seen Phelps make a start yet, of course

Roger (Chapel Hill, NC)

I distinctly remember the excitement that surrounded Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain, just a couple of years ago. Yankees were going to be "set for years to come." How did this all go so wrong?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

Because it happens with pitchers all the time. Mets fans can tell you that. Anyone remember Generation K?

Jimbo (NY)

Phil is historically a slow starter? Except for that one year he pitched well (in 2010) and it was only the first half he pitched well in. Or in that April/May start against the Rangers where he almost no-hit them before leaving with an injury. I'm not sure Phil is the slow starter here...

Wallace Matthews
  (12:25 PM)

I heard that said on the broadcast last night and remarked to no one in particular, that's funny because he pitched the two greates games of his life in April. Sounded like excuse-making to me

Richard (Brooklyn)

Will Swisher be re-signed even with a mediocre post-season?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

Excellent question. Swisher is having an excellent season but as we know, the Yankees don;t really start keeping score until October, and as they often say around here, if they don;t win a championship the season is a failure. So if he has another poor postseason, do the Yankees re-sign a guy who gives them 30 HRs from April to Septmeber and then bupkes after that? I'm not so sure they do that

John (East Elmhurst, NY)

Odds Pineda meets his potential now?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

Obviously much lower. I think it all depends on his willingness to put in the work and make the sacrifices necessary to have a successful rehab, and from what we saw this spring, hard off-season work does not seem to have been his forte. But sometimes, a catastrophic event will change a young person;s outlook and approach to life and that may happen with Pineda

Mark (NY)

We better hope Gardy and Swish come back quickly. The OF play in recent games has been awful to say the least. Who can the Yanks bring up from AAA to play? Also Wally, do you see the Yanks making a trade for a bonafide starting pitcher?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:31 PM)

There's always Chris Dickerson, Colin Curtis and DeWayne Wise down there. As for trading for an SP, I think they'll wait until the deadline to see what shakes loose.

Brian (Florida)

with Nunez being a terrible infielder I have said many times he needs to be moved to the outfield because he will never be a good infielder so do they keep him in the outfield and keep working him in the outfield

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

I agree. Altho the Yankees consider him a SS, I'm not convinced and despite what we saw last night, I think he has the athletic ability to become a serviceable OF

Matt (DC)

Hi Wally, who is your favorite Yankees personality that you have covered? On the current team Nick Swisher seems like a fun interview

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

Swisher's a good guy but it's Mariano, hands down. Alex, too. Cano is very pleasant, just wish he'd say a little more

Wallace Matthews
  (12:33 PM)

Thanks, everyone. The time has come, but we'll do it again next week. appreciate all the excellent questions. See you Wednesday