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 1050 ESPN Radio.
Send your questions now and join Matthews Wednesday at noon ET!
Wallace Matthews (11:57 AM)
Happy New Year everyone and welcome to my first live chat of 2011. I start out today with a rather embarrassing confession: I didn;t vote for any of the guys who made it into the Hall of Fame. How do I know this if the results won't be announced until 2 PM? because when I returned home from my Parisian vacation the first thing i saw on the kitchen counter was my HOF ballot, which I forgot to stick in the mailbox in the confusion of packing and rushing to the airport on Xmas day. Had it gone out, I would have voted for Robbie alomar, Bery Blyleven and Jack Morris. Oh, well. Hopefully they can get by without my help this year. We'll get underway at 12 noon sharp so take your last warmup swings and get ready to play ball
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
Is it true Lonn Trost wants to charge fans to visit George's monument?
Wallace Matthews (12:00 PM)
Hello, Michaal. I don;t know Lonn Trost personally because everytime I try to speak to him he runs the other way. But my guess is if he could, Mr. Trost would charge you for breathing within the confines of Yankee Stadium. He's probably thinking of a way to do just that as we speak
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will Yankees P Andy Pettitte Retire Before the 2011 season begins Or will he sign with another team?
Wallace Matthews (12:02 PM)
Hey, Chris. I do not believe pettitte will sign with another team. he has said all along he would only consider playing for the Yankees, and his rather shaky HGH story aside, I have always found him to be uncommonly honest and sincere among professional athletes, and in truth, most people. The bigger question is, will he pitch for the Yankees this year? My gut has said no all along, but it's an answer the Yankees need in definitve form, and soon
Brandon L (OH)
Mr.Wall-E,I was wondering if the Yankees sign Rafael Soriano and Brian Fuentes do you think they would have the best bullpen on paper heading into the 2011 season?
Wallace Matthews (12:04 PM)
Hey, Brandon. On paper, yes. but the as we know the games are played on grass and dirt. Certainly would be a huge improvement over what they have now, though, and would also provide them with a worthy successor to Mariano
Ryan (Washington DC)
If Andy does not return aren't the Yankees are even more flush with cash to spend on a starter? Who do they (or have they already) target?
Wallace Matthews (12:07 PM)
Hey, Ryan. I don't think money is an impediment to anyone they might want to add, but yeah, the 12-15M they would have spent on Pettitte woulkd be free for someone else. the problem is, wo do you spend it on? Cliff Lee is gone, and there's not another FA pitcher out there worth that kind of moo-la-di. I think they're more likely to hope to catch lightning in a bottle with the likes of J Bonderman or F Garcia than take another crack at say, C Pavano. I think their preferred scenario would be one more year from Pettitte which would allow Ivan Nova to move in as the no. 5 and moves AJ down to No. 4
We are almost a month away until pitchers and catchers report. I hope we get Andy's decision asap. But if Cashman truly believes that Pettitte is going to retire this year (I don't but you can call me crazy) then I hope he's prepared to sign Soriano. I think we should be signing him even if Andy does come back. But can you really see Mitre ever making the rotation because I can't. I was never a fan of Joba as starter but man I'd be sure be open to it if it means not seeing Mitre ever take the ball. Our bullpen would be stacked and Joba only seemed to go 5 or 6 innings anyway as a starter so we could just have Robertson, Feliciano, Prior (lol), Soriano, and Rivera to close out the games.
Wallace Matthews (12:11 PM)
Randy, I agree the Yankees need an answer ASAP, altho Cash assure3s me he is proceeding under the assumption Pettitte is retired. still, you knw the Yankees are holding out hope he will come back, esp after not landing C Lee. For some reason, officials in the Yankees front office are very wary of paying soriano the kind of money they think it would take to get him. Forget about Mitre as anything more than a spot starter. Cashman says Joba is a reliever now, period. hard as it may seem to believe, it certainly looks as if ythe GM is willing to muddle through till the trade deadline with wat he's got: CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova and some TBD fifth starter
Ciaran (Island Park, Long Island, NY)
Hi Wallace, how worried should the Yankees be about pitching, should Pettitte officially call it a day? And long term, who do you think will end up being the Yankees catcher, Montero or Romine? I'm hearing a lot of good things about Romine, which might lead to Montero being trade bait
Wallace Matthews (12:14 PM)
Hello, Ciaran. Since pitching is at least 75 percent of the game, I would say they should be very worried. I think Pettitte should pitch again -- it was clear last season that he still has plenty left in the tank -- but if he's not going to, then he should let the Yankees know ASAP. However, as I;ve mentioned, the Yankees are assuming he;s not coming back. Clearly, their off-season game plan was Cliff Lee or bust. so far, they got bust. re Romaine: he's still considered a year or so away, and had a mediocre winter ball season. Still, the acquisition of Russell Martin culd make Montero trade bait if the Yanks get desperate enuf for starting pitching
joe bunn (argentina)
would the yankees be interested in bringing back gary sheffield?he would bring righthanded pop and has proven he can play in ny.
Wallace Matthews (12:16 PM)
hey, Joe. Several problems wth Sheff. First of all, he always wants stupid money. Second of all, he always finds a way to get teed off about something. he started out great with the Mets a couple of years ago but when he became unhapy with his playing time, he sulked and basically quit on the team. He didn;t end his Yankee tenure very well either. But most importantly, he's 42, didn;t play last year and couldn;t really hit anymore the last time he did play. I love sheff as a person but the short answer is no.
Jason (Long Island, NY)
Happy New Year Wally! Read a report of Yanks having an interest in Jeremy Bonderman. Do you see him as a fit for the Yanks? If not him, is there anyone that they could sign to solidify the back end of the rotation besides Nova?
Wallace Matthews (12:19 PM)
Thanks Jason and same to you. Bonderman would be a great fit if he could pitch the way he did in 2006. Unfortunately, he hasn't, and has had injuries, including a shoulder problem tha makes him a huge risk if you are depending on him, as the Yankees would be. I think he's worth signing to a minoor-league deal or bringing in to spring training as a non-roster invite to see what he has left. but I certainly wouldn;t commit much money to him before seeing that. Cashman talked about Brackman, Betances and Banuelos as possible No. 5's, but since none of them has even had a full season in AAA yet, I would say that's a long shot.
Walt (New Brunswick, NJ)
What is the likelihood that the Yankees start the season with Ivan Nova in the starting rotation? In most of his starts last season, he breezed through the order the first time, but struggled after that. He seems like a perfect fit for a middle inning reliever, capable of giving you 2-3 solid innings.
Wallace Matthews (12:21 PM)
Hey, Walt. I think there's a very good chance. I agree with yu that hitters and teams seemed to have a better time with him the more they faced him, and in some games his stamina appeared suspect. But the Yankees think those are correctable problems. The other things they saw in nova -- toughness, poise, an absence of nerves -- are the kinds of things you can;t teach and the reason why they believe he will crack the rotation this year.
Mike G (West Hartford CT)
What are your thoughts on moving Gardner to the lead off spot and putting Jeter back in the 2 hole? When will see Cano hitting 3rd?
Wallace Matthews (12:22 PM)
Hey, Mike. I love Gardner in the leadoff spot but hate Jeter at No. 2 becuase of his propensity for ground balls and the double play. What's the point of having Gardner get on base if Jeter is going to erase him? At this point in his career, I think jeter fits better low in the lineup. The problem is getting Jeter to go along with it willingly
What's wrong with bringing Brackman, Betances, Baneolos, Noesi, Phelps, Mitchell and Nova to camp and see if any of them can stick in either the rotation or the pen?
Wallace Matthews (12:23 PM)
Hey Greg. Nothing worong with it and right now, I believe that is the Yankees' plan if they aren;lt able to pluck someone off in the next six weeks.
Hey Wally. Why didn't the Yanks make a play Brandon W. ebb
Wallace Matthews (12:24 PM)
Hey, Mike. The Yankees scouted Webb in an instructional league this fall and found his fastball was loitering at between 79-81 MPH. Enuf said?
what do you think andy will do? and do you yhink any of this waiting has anything to do with money?
Wallace Matthews (12:25 PM)
Hey Brian. I don;t think it has to do with money. The Yankees have said they can afford whatever it will take to get Pettitte back. I believe the iossue is what pettitte says it is, that at this point of his life, he wants to spend more time watching his kids grow up, which is a wonderful thing if you can afford to do it. and he can
Brian Cashman (San Jose, CA)
Why don't I sign Rafael Soriano, then trade a mid level prospect and salary relief for Joe Blanton?
Wallace Matthews (12:25 PM)
I don;t know, Cash, Why don;t you?
jen Parrish (tigard oregon)
will russel martin bat between jorge swish like 7th spot or 8th
Wallace Matthews (12:26 PM)
Hey, Jen. Happy new year! I think Martin will bat low in the lineup, probably eighth or ninth. A lot of it depends, I think, on where they decide to bat Jeter this season. Thanks for joining!
Christian (New York)
Should the yankees take a gamble on Damon or Manny, i mean im sorry but Gardner just isnt enough for me.
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
hey, Christian. Of the two, I think the Yankees would be more likely yo gamble on Damon for several reasons. First of all, he will take less money. secondly, he's a lot less crazy and disruptive. Third of all, as bad as Damon can be in the OF, he's a Gold Glover compared to Manny. And I agree with you. The Yankees may need some help out there, esp if Gardner's wrist takes longer to heal than expected
Eric (SI, NY)
First, off Happy New Year and hope your trip was very enjoyable. Second, I guess we all need to prepare that Andy will not be coming back huh? Third, do you agree with the NESN article that the 2011 RedSox could be greater than the 1927 Yankees?
Wallace Matthews (12:30 PM)
Hey, Eric, thanks and the same to you. Trip was great. sure I agree wth it. Just like I agree that Justin Bieber could be bigger than Sinatra, Elvis and the Beatles put together. But I'll believe it when I see it.
Mike G (West Hartford CT)
Wally, Do you think the yankees will make any big moves before the season starts? Manny, Johnny, Carl Pavano?
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Hey, Mike. of the three, I think just Damon is a possibility. Forget Pavano. Been there, done that, hated it. Manny is a DH who can;t hit as well as the DH they have. at the right price, Damon 2.0 might be a fit
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Gotta run, guys. Thanks for all th egreat questions, as always. we'll do it again next week. Till then, a bientot. (Couldn;t resist)