Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 6, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:56 AM)

Greetings, everyone. A week from today will be the first workout for pitchers and catchers in Yankee camp, so this is officially our final chat of the off-season. Next week we do it for real. You ready? We'll get started at high noon

Matt (VA)

Do Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams all start the season in Trenton?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:01 PM)

I would think so considering their youth and inexperience. That doesn't mean one or more of them can't play his way up to Scranton during the season, or be moved up in case of a trade or injury, the way Romine was last year when Montero got traded

Pete (Secaucus )

What happens to the loser to the Phelps/Nova battle? Long man? or stay stretched out in AAA?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:02 PM)

great question. I think it depends upon what the club's plans are for the 'loser". since the Yankees say they see both guys as starters, I would guess the No. 6 would head to Scranton to stay on a regular rotation so he would be stretched out and ready in case one of the Yankee starters gets injured. However, in the case of Phelps, they also like him out of th epen, so it's possible they could retain him as a long man

Zack (Bronx)

Where will Ichiro and Gardner slot into the lineup? It seems like Garnder should be leading off with the captain in the 2 spot.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

Ha! I;m laughing because these are the kind of questions we will be peppering Girardi with a week from today, on a daily basis. and I can tell you his answer: "That's something we're going to have to think about." My guess is the three of them will be sandwiched in the lineup, as in Ichiro 9, Gardner 1, Jeter 2, or Gardner 9, Jeter 1, Ichiro 2. It may depend on whether a lefty or righty is starting. against RHs, Gardner or Ichiro could lead off, with Jeter leading off against lefties

Tim (Bronx)

Tell us a little about the Yankees situation with StubHub. Will there be no tickets available there at all?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

my understanding is fans will still be free to buy and sell Yankees tickets on Stubhub, but the team will make it difficult,, and probably impossible, to pick the tickets up at the ballpark. Stubhub has said it will come up with some convenient pickup/dropoff method. It's all a strategy to protect season-ticket holders who resell their seats, a group the club is obviously worried about declining this year since the secondary market for Yankees tickets seems to be in the tank

Anthony (Washington Twp, NJ)

If Cervelli faces any type of suspension, what are the Yankees doing at catcher if they just have Stewart? Will Romine be ready?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:10 PM)

Another great question that I didn't think we'd have to be dealing with. They have other catchers in camp, Bobby Wilson, for one, who could compete for a backup role, but the question of whether Romine is ready even as a second-string C in the big leagues will be one of the main issues in Yankees camp. Clearly, they didn;t think so last spring, and he missed much of the AAA season with a back injury, so I wuld say it's somethign of a longshot

Bob (Manhattan )

What is the order of the starting rotation on opening day? C.C, Andy, Hiro, Phil, Phelps?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

I would flip-flop Hiro and Andy but I tend to believe that Phelps will win the No, 5 spot from Nova

Jerry (Manhattan )

Who is the one player you would be most shocked to see in any PED scandal? has to be Jeter right?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

right. Although as more and more names keep popping up, I must admit I don;t any name would completely shock me anymore

Dave (Queens )

How big would a Subway World Series be in this day of social media?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

so big that Twitter might vaporize, which might not be such a bad thing

John Wright (Sarasota FL)

How do you think the recent revelations about Fran Cervelli's name popping up in the Bosch PED scandal affect his standing with the Yankees?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

If nothing comes of it, not at all.

Dave (Queens )

During a day when there is no real story, are you more inclined to write a negative story?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:13 PM)

every day, I am inclined to write the truth

L. (Massachusetts)

Good Morning, What are your thoughts about Franciso Cervelli? Why would the yankees sign Travis Hafner, and not Raul Ibanez? Thank you.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:14 PM)

Hi. My thoughts on Cervelli are the same as my thoughts on A-Rod, that having his name on some guys list proves nothing, although I will say if you;re a pro athlete it is not a list you want your name to be on these days. But I need more information or evidence to start condemning anyone over what we already know

Willis (Maine)

Hi Wally, hope you're enjoying the countdown to ST as much as the fans are. Here's a question I've been thinking on: who do you think makes the rotation out of spring training? CC, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Hughes are likely a given. But who out of Phelps and Nova? I like Phelps, but Joe always seems to be committed to his "regulars", even if they have a bad ST (ie: Nova last year.) Or is there another dark-horse starter we should be watching?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

Hi Willis. I have enjoyed writing the countdowns and I;m glad you;re enjoying reading them. As I said in an earlier answer, my gut says Phelps this spring. I agree that Girardi is reluctant to deviate from his regulars but I've always had the feeling he has never completely trusted Nova, from his rookie season when he almost reflexively removed him after 5 innings no matter how well he was pitching. So I don;t think this is a switch he will agonize over all that much

Dave (NY)

Man, Am I glad Jeter and Arod aren't friends. Can you imagine what would happen if Arod invited Jeter over for an offseason workout in Miami? That being said, I am just waiting for Cano's name to pop up on that list. Thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:18 PM)

Not for nothing, but Jeter did go down to Miami around the holidays and came back looking a lot slimmer than he had on that NY Post front page. Just sayin. As for Cano, if you;re a Yankee fan you better hope not

Steven (Enfield, CT)

Do you see any possible way that the Yankees just fire A-Rod and take there chances at a settlement in court for less than he's owed? Let's just move on from this albatross.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:19 PM)

I really don;t because from the legal minds I've spoken with, there doesn;t seem to be an easy way out of this deal, and no earthly reason why A-Rod should agree to take a nickel less than they owe him. I think the Yankees are going to have to hold their noses and swallow this one, at least for awhile

mk (albuquerque)

you know what has become far more tiresome than athletes implicated in connection to PEDs? athletes blatantly and transparently lying to our faces about it when caught. that's what.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

agreed. although I do find it amusing to read some of their denials/justifications. I mean, how stupid do they think we all are? No need to answer that

Joshua T (New York)

With Cano being a FA next year, would it be wise to let granderson go to free Cap space ?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:21 PM)

I think it has been considered but the Yankees have already lost a ton of HRs this off-season, something like 112 including A-Rod, so they probably think they need Grandy for the power he can provide in what is likely to be a very different offense this year

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you think being in a contract year will motivate Cano?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:23 PM)

I hate to think that professional athletes, or any professionals in any business, only try their hardest when their contracts are on the line but I know from speaking with GMs that it happens quite frequently. Cano is a great player, and if he has a great year it will be tough to know if it is because of his looming FA, or just because he's a great player

Anthony (tampa)

wally how are u, do u think this is going to ened up in heavy suspensions and even a better question cervelli on peds cmon !

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

Hey, anthony. By the CBA, A-Rod and Cervelli can get no more than 50 games for a first offense, and to get even that MBL would have to prove their guilt by a "non-analytic positive," meaning a positive without a test result, which is a very difficult thing to do. So it's possible nothing at all will come of this other than some momentary embarrassment. as for your other statement, uh, no comment

Sal Massa (Mineola NY)

Any chance Cashman has something big up his sleeve before spring training?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:25 PM)

with five days to go? I doubt it. But he's said all along that he has until July 31 to finish this roster, so I don;t think he's imposing that kind of a timetable on himself

James (NYC)

Do you think the appearance of Cervelli on the Bosch report will cause the Yanks to alter their already iffy catcher situation?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

not if nothing is proven

Harvey (Staten Island)

Will we ever know how good ARod really was? At this point, one would have to think he's been on something for a long time.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

that's one of the saddest thing about the whole steroid era, that players who were probably great w/o help -- not just A-Rod but Clemens, Bonds, and who knows how many others -- wil forever have their accomplishments doubted. and it;s no one';s fault but their own

Dom (NY)

Wouldn't Cashman have been better off signing BJ Upton 5 yrs/75 mil and trading Grandison to repleniash the farm system? The Yanks would have gotten younger, more athletic and would have the RH bat they sorely need. Your thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

it seems that way but there clearly was an organizational philosphy not to sign anyone to a long-term deal this spring

Rich (NY)

What is the status of the yankees bullpen going forward? Have any updates been released on the health of the killer b's for this season?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

The bullpen is intact from last year, which is good. The only question mark, incredible as it may seem, is the closer. The Yankees are expecting an awful lot from 43-year-old Mo coming off a serious knee injury, but then againb, he's always delivered a lot. As for the Killer Bs, not much being said about them all this winter

Marc (Poughkeepsie)

Why do you cover the Yanks when you clearly hate them?Specifically A-Rod, but it seems in general you hate the Yanks. Couldn't you cover ladies basketball or something ?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

because I get well paid to do it

Nick (New York)

Do you expect any rookies or minor league guys to surprise some and play a decent role on the team this year? Romine, Montgomery, Betances, Austin...

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

I would think Romine has the best shot because of the catching situation. Austin, Sanchez, Williams are still a couple of years away. and Betances has to relocate home plate

Wallace Matthews
  (12:31 PM)

Thanks, all, for the great questions this week. we'll do it again next week from Tampa