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March 13, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Wally Matthews

Wallace Matthews
  (11:59 AM)

Good afternoon all. Let's get started

jim va.beach [via mobile]

Wally, would george let this team get this old and fragile?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:00 PM)

No. He would buy them all their own personal fountain of youth. Or a membership to Biogenesis

Dom (NY)

Cashman can use the salary cap - $189 million -as an excuse but he's the one who painted himself into a corner by not adding bench strength. He could have resigned Chavez, Ibanez, Martin but passed on all 3.Who knows if Texiera's wrist will hold up the entire year? Last year he traded traded their best chip Montero for a guy who's yet to pitch an inning. Did he really think Chipper Jones was going to come back? He's an average GM at best. Why not pick up Morneau- for 1 year or take a chance on Soriano if the Cubs are willing to pay 26 of the 36 million owed.The Yanks have an aging roster do we think they'll be able to escape the rest of the year injury free? Your thoughts?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:04 PM)

A lot to swallow there. First of all, let me say we don;t really know how much of a demand the 189M was over the winter, and when it became more of a "goal," as I wrote last month. But I certainly think it hampered the GM's ability/desire to sign anyone to a longterm deal. In hindsight, yeah, they should prob have retained Ibanez and Chavez, and maybe Martin. The injury thing will continue to be a problem as the roster ages. Can't answer as to the thinking on Morneau except that the Yankees expect Tex to be back sometime in May and then what do you do with Morneau. Same with Soriano, since Granderson will be back too. I agree the roster and its entanglements will be nmore of a problem down the line but remember, it;s not only Cashman's fault. The Boss wanted some of those guys, and it was Hank and Randy levine who re-sgned A-Rod

Matt (Florida)

Why does A-Rod continuously manage to shoot himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth? He said Rivera was "allegedly" the greatest closer of all time. Doesn't he have advisers that say "Hey you might want to rephrase that."?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:05 PM)

what he actually said was "arguably." Maybe we're nitpicking becuase it's alex but it seemed like an unnecessary word to include in a tribute. he does have a knack for it, doesn;t he?

Luis (Washington Heights)

How depleted is our farm system? I hear about other ball clubs having top prospects coming up nearly every year but the Yankees seem to settle for aging vets to plug up the holes. Is there anyone in our system who you can see contributing to this ball club in the near future (ala Profar, Bundy)

Wallace Matthews
  (12:07 PM)

It's not so much depleted as it is a couople of years away, mainly because the last generation of hot prospects, like Banuelos, Betances, Romine and Montero have not panned out. This year, I think Mesa could make a contribution in the OF, as could Almonte, and you might see kids like Montgomery get called up to work some middle relief

Andy (Dayton)

Hi Wally! Do you think anyone not currently in Yankees camp will be in the opening day lineup?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:08 PM)

Hey, Andy. if I could answer questions like that I would make my living at the racetrack or on Wall St.

Julio (Argentina)

Why hasn't el generale managerio Cashman called El Signor Sheffield to coax out of retirement??

Wallace Matthews
  (12:08 PM)

I've been waiting for this question. And I;ve been wondering the same thing

Man who is pinching pennies (Washington, DC)

Do you see Cashman trading an excess arm (Nova or Aardsma) for a proven reserve player to solidify the bench? Any chance Chien Mien Wang is signed to a minor league deal to offset this hypothetical trade?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:10 PM)

I think a trade of a pitcher is possible, which is one of the reasons, I believe, Cashman has stockpiled so many arms. I think both guys you named are candidates, esp Nova if the Yankees decide Phelps is the fifth starter. As for Wang, I think the Yankees consider him done because of his shoulder issues

David (Jupiter FL)

Hey Wally, assuming everybody comes back healthy, who will Girardi put at the bottom of the lineup. It looks like it is Gardner's time ot lead off and with Jeter batting second, does that mean Ichiro goes to the bottom?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:11 PM)

This is a question I and others have been asking Girardi all spring and he keeps telling us he hasn;t thought about it yet (Yeah right). My guess is some combination of the three of them will hit 9-1-2, and I can guarantee you one thing: Jeter will not hit ninth

Andrew , NJ [via mobile]

Do you think Cano will bat 3rd or cleanup behind Gardner, ichiro, and Jeter ?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:12 PM)

This is related to the previous question. Girardi won't say, but I think Cano has to hit cleanup, maybe wth someone like Youkilis third. Of course, when Tex and Grandy come back, the lineup will be reshuffled again, but with this roster, I can;t see another No. 4 hitter besides Robby

Cristian B. (Fort Hood, Texas)

What are the CHANCES that Yankee Fans get a treat before season begins? Kyle Lohse is still out there as a Free Agent, if Yankees can't stack up on hitters could they stack up on another decent pitcher? 1 Year Contract?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:14 PM)

Is this Scott Boras using an alias? Seriously, one area the Yankees seem set on is starting pitching and while I am surprised Lohse is still out there, the Yankee front office people I have spoken to have expressed zero interest in him

Matt (Florida)

If Jeter gets 200 hits this year, I think he has a chance at passing Rose. He bats at top of line up and rarely walks. Even if he bats .250 rest of his career, he needs about 3, 500 at bats. Think he can do it?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:16 PM)

Matt, I think he can do it if he chooses to stick around for that sole purpose but honestly, I don;t think the Yankees would want to meet his demands if he's going to be a .250 hitter -- and where does he play in the field as he moves into his 40s?-- nor do I think Jeter, who in his own way is as proud as DiMaggio, would want to hang on as a marginal player just for the sake of a number. He doesn't need it for his legacy

Greg (LA)

Assume the Yankees score 100 less runs than they did last year. Is the pitching good enough to make up the difference?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:17 PM)

That question is the key to the season, and it also hinges on defense. The pitching is good, I think, but the problem is age and the fact that pitchers ALWAYS break down, no matter how young or old. So, I 've written it before and will again: a lot of things have to go right for the Yankees this year for them to be as good as they were last year

Yankee Flyer (NH)

Wally, good stuff as always. Do you think Hal will finally reconsider his obsession with staying below the $189M luxury tax threshold? Have the empty seats and underwhelming fan buzz damaged the Yankees brand to the point where he'll jettison his penny wise, pound foolish austerity plan? YES allows this team to print money and sitting on the sidelines while rivals raid your roster isn?t how things are done in New York. This ain?t Kansas City.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:19 PM)

Thanks. I think he already has -- I wrote a column about it last month that is still available on the website -- and the best evidence of it is his attempt to get Cano and Boras to sign an extension rather than go to free agency, which we all know isn;t going to happen.

Bill, Bronx [via mobile]

Do you think the yankees will start spending big money again?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:20 PM)

Depends on what you consider big money. Even 189M is big to most clubs. But yes, I think the payroll cut edict will be lifted, if it hasn;t already, because I'm told Hal misjudged the negative reaction from fans, and possibly, potential ticket buyers

Jose Cuervo (NJ)

Why are the Yankees afraid of giving their young prospects a chance to play at the majors?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:21 PM)

I wouldn;t say afraid, although Girardi has admitted he always prefers to go with an experienced player over a rookie. But this year, with all the injuires, I think he'll be forced to give one of them a chance, most likely Melky Mesa. And BTW, love your work

Joe Y (Mountain Lakes, NJ)

Wally, I just heard that Brennan Boesch was released by the Tigers. Any chance the Yanks will sign him? His left handed bat seems like the perfect fit for the Stadium.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:24 PM)

He is the type of player they might sign if he gets through waivers, but remember, the Yankees are already loaded with LH hitting outfielders, and last season Boesch wasn;t all that productive, although I believe he was injured. Thumb, IIRC? They;ve already stockpiled so many guiys of this type -- Diaz, Rivera, Dan Johnson, as well as the kids like Mesa, almonte and Mustelier, why not add one more?

Chris (Upstate, NY)

I saw the report that Texas scouted Joba. If in fact there is anything to that trade matchup (Craig Gentry's name was thrown around) the Yankees could have a truly remarkable defensive outfield. Can you see that happening?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:26 PM)

Interesting possibility, esp since the Yankees seem to be tiring of Joba's act, as evidence by both Girardi and Cashman's mocking reaction to his request to be made a starter again. But I also think they see him as a valuable part of their bullpen, maybe their 7th inning man, so it's a tough call to make

Mark (Parts Unknown, NC)

Saw your comment above about Biogenesis. While not a direct Yankees question, although a couple are involved, why can't MLB get reports from Miami New Times? What is it worth to the paper now that they have blown lid off the fraud that is Biogenesis?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:27 PM)

first of all, that was a joke. MLB does not have subpoena power; it can only request notes and sources, and like all news organizations, the New Times has the right to refuse. I do not know the reason for their refussal, but my guess is they are protecting a source

Alex (Anaheim)

Do you think Stewart can hack it, or will the Yanks regret letting even the disappointing Martin get away?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:28 PM)

Actually, I think your question should be, can Cervelli hack it, because I think he's going to win the starting job. Martin was disapppointing in some respects but he was a good handler of pitchers who hit 20+ HRs even in a horrendous offensive season. Cervelli and Stewart won;t hit that many combined in three seasons

Jon (Bozeman, MT)

Wally, is there any thought to the Yanks spending their money wisely for a change? Other teams are winning by spending a lot less money. Obviously, this can't change until ARod, Tex, Jeter, and CC are off the payroll.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:29 PM)

I think that was the whole basis for Hal's edict, and it's tough to argue with. But you;re right, Cashman will be hamstrung as long as he has $100M tied up in a handful of players

Steve (IA)

Hi Wally! Cano is crushing the ball in the WBC. How important is it for the Yankees to get him re-signed before the end of the year. I can see him getting 8-10 years/$25 million a year from someone.

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

it will never happen. Boras would not let a commodity like Cano sign an extension without going to FA first, and the Yankees know it

Dan C (Queens, NY)

What in your view is the strongest aspect of this team going into the season, their pitching rotation? Outfield? Infield? I know it's not their lineup as we are definitely lacking the homers we had last year!

Wallace Matthews
  (12:30 PM)

would say starting pitching, assuming they remain healthy

JCH (Delaware)

Based on their spring performance so far, is it wrong to assume the 5th starter position will be awarded to Nova since Phelps proved himself in the bullpen last year?

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

they are both so close in terms of stats and performance so far ether way you guess is liable to be wrong, sand I;m sure the decision will be based on ability out of the pen, who has options remaining, and the org's desire to keep the "loser" on a once-every-5-day starting schedule

Wallace Matthews
  (12:32 PM)

Thanks everyone, my time's up this week. we'll do it again next week