Chat with Wally Matthews
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Wednesday, New York Yankees beat writer Wally Matthews will stop by to take your baseball questions.
Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He joins ESPNNewYork to cover the Yankees, which he's done since the days of Stump Merrill, having worked for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Send your questions now and join Matthews Wednesday at noon ET!
Wallace Matthews (11:55 AM)
Good morning everyone and welcome to this week's live chat. I'm going to re-fill my coffee cup and we'll get going in about 5 minutes
Ichiro has turned it around of late (as I predicted). You still want Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch (both batting.200 or lower) to get the majority of ABs?
Wallace Matthews (12:00 PM)
Congratulations. Go buy yourself a soda pop
Person who Loves MayDay (Washington, DC)
Is it safe to say the biggest injury/DL'ed player on the team right now is Cervelli with a Youk as close second? Phelps is better than Nova, Wells is a better hitter than Grandy, Nunez has more range than Jeter, and Overbay's .240 average in April outshines any April from Teixeira's.
Wallace Matthews (12:02 PM)
That's an interesting question. Certainly, an everyday catcher is valuable and the loss of Cervelli is bigger than anyone could have imagined at the beginning of the season, so I'll agree his loss is more damaging that Youk's right now. But as much as I like Wells as a player and person, I think the Yankees lineup will benefit from the return of Grandy's power bat in the middle. and I don;t think Wells will be the guy who sits when Grandy gets back
Michael T Nixon (Chicago, IL )
Hey Wally, I'll preface my question by saying I have been pleasantly surprised at how good the Retread Yankees have been playing. I don't think we could have asked for much more from this group so far. My question centers around re-integrating the injured regulars into the lineup. Obviously we welcome Jeter & Tex back with open arms, but what about Grandy and A-Rod. Although Wells may be fools gold, he has done well and with Grandy back, his PT will go down. Also what happens to Gardy position-wise? As for A-Rod, I kind of compare him to Amare with the Knicks: overpaid health risk who under performs and tends to affect chemistry. Are the Yanks better off without the hassle he brings? Thanks and keep up the "good" work on the blog and I'll keep hassling you.
Wallace Matthews (12:06 PM)
Hey, thanks for joining us. I welcome the "hassle." The OF situation is an interesting one. Girardi has already said that when Grandy gets back, he returns to CF because the injury robbed him of any time to learn LF in spring training. So Gardy probably goes to left. If I was the manager, I would platoon Wells and Ichiro in right. A couple of weeks ago, I would have said bench Ichy and play Wells but the old guy is starting to come around and if he gets on base, he can be useful. A-Rod is a sticky proposition. He does bring drama and distraction, but they;re paying him an awful lot of money to not play him, so I;m sure when/if he comes back, he gets his old job back. How he handles it, and the likely negative fan reaction to his return, will determine how long he keeps it.
Keep up the great work! Does Girardi/Cashman/et al think Hughes has turned a corner this season? His last two starts have been much better and he looks to have shaken off the rust from his balky back in Spring Training.
Wallace Matthews (12:07 PM)
Thank you, Chris. I believe they do, and right now, it looks as if they were right in thinking his 2011 season was an injury-marred aberration. But things change in a hurry around here, and today's judgments may mean nothing a month from now.
The update on Teixeria not being close to ready is concerning. Wouldn't it be better for all involved if he just got the surgery and returned in 2014? It seems like it would be just a matter of time before he tears it completely.
Wallace Matthews (12:10 PM)
This is a similar quandary the Jays found themselves in with Bautista last year, only difference being he tried to play. Tex' progression has certainly been much slower than anyone predicted, including himself, but Girardi has said all along that this was the most unpredictable of all the injuries his team has suffered (although I must say Jeter's is running a close second). I think the Yankees plan is to give him as much time as he needs, because you still might get a half-season out of him; surgery now, as you point out, writes him off until next year and it's still too early to do that
Corey louisville ky [via mobile]
Wally my man! How bout them yanks? Should I be worried about pettites last start? I hope it isn't a sign of things to come. Is d rob gonna eventually find his groove and be a lock down 8th inning guy like he was last year? Thanks good sir
Wallace Matthews (12:12 PM)
Hey, Corey. Given Pettitte's history, I think it would be a mistake to be overly worried about one start, esp. since his first three were outstanding. However, I will tell you that Pettitte seemed truly puzzled by the ineffectiveness of his cutter the other night and it certainly bears watching the next couple of times out. As for Robertson, unfortunately for him his 2011 season was so outstanding that anything he does from here on is likely to be viewed as a regression. I still think he's an excellent late-inning pitcher, just not quite the automatic shutdown guy he was 2 years ago
Will Travis Hafner keep up his hot start or when Yank's players come back off the DL, will he be a non everyday player?
Wallace Matthews (12:15 PM)
Hafner was signed to be the DH against RH pitchers and that isn't going to change when anyone gets back. and right now, there's no reason to. Pronk has been terrific, I think
Chicken Wire (Boogie Down)
Me and my tag team partner Duct Tape are doing a pretty good job thus far, no?
Wallace Matthews (12:15 PM)
Yes. I;m waiting for your third sibling, Gorilla Glue, to make an appearance
Boxing (your 1st love} Question: Did you get a chance to see Canelo Alverez vs Trout? Mayweather even at his age of 37 would win every rd against Alvavez and let's not get into what SRL or Hearns would have done to him. Is it amazing how far down in talent the best fighters of today have gotten? Why?
Wallace Matthews (12:18 PM)
I did. Canelo is a good strong fighter but pretty one-dimensional and I expected Trout to do a better job of frustrating him. My guess on your second question is that there's a smaller talent pool to begin with -- of all the pro sports, boxing guarantees you the least, other than scrambled brain cells, although the NFL is not far behind -- and fighters are rushed through the ranks to become "contenders" without really knowing how to be fighters. Kind of like American Idol. The death of Olympic boxing, thanks to NBC, has a lot to do with it; no reason anymore to remain an amateur long enough to truly learn the craft
Slade Heathcott (Trenton)
I JUST RAN FACE-FIRST INTO THE TOASTER. GOD, I LOVE TOAST.
Wallace Matthews (12:18 PM)
rub some butter on it. you'll be fine
Are the Yankees/Cashman looking to make any trades/moves in the near future?
Wallace Matthews (12:19 PM)
Doubt it. This is not the time to make trades. ask me again in July as we near the deadline
With the WBC paying his salary through insurance, do the Yanks get any revenue sharing relief off of Tex's injury?
Wallace Matthews (12:20 PM)
i don't know the answer to that but believe me, Hal, Hank, Goldman Sachs, Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the hands in the Yankee pie -- and the fans pockets - can certainly afford it
Hey Wally, can Joseph play other positions besides 2nd? If so, will he see any playing time with Youk out?
Wallace Matthews (12:21 PM)
He's played a handful at third and literally a couple at first, but I think he's really here as insurance and because the Yankees can't put David Adams on the 40 until May 15.
What kind of future do you see for Pineda, will he ever pitch in pinstripes, is her going to be worth the wait? When we made the trade I thought it was gonna be great, but im still waiting for the young pitcher to return from injury.
Wallace Matthews (12:24 PM)
That's a great question. I saw that my friend and colleague, Andrew Marchand, projected a June return for Pineda but a Yankee insider -- someone connected to the pitching staff -- told me last week he's a lot further away than that and has only just begun the process of returning. His opinion was that next April was the more realistic goal. whether he was saying that to temper expectations, I don;t know, but I would be surprised to see Pineda before the ASB, if then even
Where would you bat Grandy when he returns to the lineup? The two spot which he is accustomed to or the 5 spot to better utilize his power?
Wallace Matthews (12:25 PM)
Haven;t really thought about it but last year, I thought Grandy was more suited to middle of the order hitting, because of the power and because of his tendency to strike out. I like him as a No. 5 or No. 6
Do you believe that if Phelps pitches respectably he keeps the 5th spot in the rotation when Nova comes off the DL?
Wallace Matthews (12:26 PM)
It's possible because I know Nova is a continuing source of frustration to Girardi, Cashman and Rothschild. They love his stuff but can't figure out why he tends ot unravel so quickly when things go wrong. So let's see how Phelps does tonight and, presumably, five days from now
You mentioned earlier in the chat that you'd possibly platoon Wells and Ichiro. I know it's a small sample size, but Wells has a better DWAR than either Ichiro or Gardiner, and a better OWAR than either as well. Wouldn't it make sense to platoon the two lefties somehow?
Wallace Matthews (12:27 PM)
I suppose you could, but the Yankees love Gardner's defense -- although I have seen a few plays on which I thought he looked shaky this season -- and at 34-35, Wells might benefit from a day off here and there
Do you have a projected date for Grandy's return?
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
I'm thinking mid-May, barring setbacks
Lets assume that the yankees were at full strength with no injuries, what would be the best batting lineup that you could come up with?
Wallace Matthews (12:29 PM)
Wow. Off the top of my head:GardnerJeterCanoHafnerTeixeiraRodriguezGrandersonWellsCervelli
If/when Tex returns, who do you expect to be the odd man out? Overbay has been playing well.
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Geez, I've been so busy wondering which OF gets the shaft when Grandy comes back, I haven;t really thought about it. I think you need a backup 1B because of tex' recent tendency to get hurt. Maybe Nix?
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Thanks everyone. Great session as always. we'll do it again next week