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 (11:57 AM)
Good morning everyone and welcome to this week's live chat. I expect a lot of angst and hand-wringing in this one, and with good reason. We'll get started in a moment
Good afternoon Wally. How would you describe the mood around the clubhouse? Watching the games, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency among the players (I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing). Thanks!
Wallace Matthews (12:01 PM)
interesting question. All along, the Yankees have been calm and seemingly unaffected by what's going on, which until last night I took for the quiet confidence of having been winners for so long. After last night, it started to sound like denial to me. There's only 21 games left and for guys to still be saying, "we need to get on a roll" sounds silly about now. Then again, i guess this is the only way they can hope to adequately deal with this. continue to believe it will turn around in time and maybe it will
After yesterday's game Joe G lamented" we have to score more runs". Yet he rarely plays for runs (no bunts, hit and run , steals - how can Alex be leading the team with 11). Yesterday's lineup was weak- why not let Chavez bat against a lefty, why not use Nunez as the DH if you don't trust him in the field. The Red sox only have 3 guys who can hurt you Pedroia, Ellsbury and Ross and yet 2 of the 3 lead to yesterday's loss. He lacks imagination and his lack of mixing things up could cost them the playoffs. They have won back to back games since the Texas series- over 25 games ago - your thoughts?
Wallace Matthews (12:04 PM)
You make some good points. Girardi talks about building runs out of one side of his mouth, and then maintains his club is a home-run hitting team and he can;t tinker with the formula. I would be surprised not to see some kind of lineup shakeup tonight, however, because scoring three runs after the other guys give you 8 baserunners is simply not acceptable. Girardi's belief if Chavez hasn;t had enough ABs vs. LHs to be effective, which is a Catch -22 if you never play him against a lefty. Nunez as the DH is a possibility but you can;t really trust him on the bases, either. Bottom line is, aside from June this team has been mediocre, or less than that, just about all season and I get the feeling Girardi is out of answers
Yankee Flyer (NH)
With Romine and Sanchez not yet ready for prime time, do you think the Yanks will keep Martin next season? I appreciate his effort, but it seems like the team?s aging and less productive lineup can?t afford to carry another year of his Mendoza Line battles.
Wallace Matthews (12:06 PM)
I do think he'll be back next year, but for a lot less money than the Yankees were willing to give him before the start of this one. Girardi likes him behind the plate and is willing to live with hitting deficiencies, and from what I can gather, Cashman is a fan, too. But it has to be at a reasonable price. You have to remember, catchers who hit like Posada and Berra and Piazza are the exception, not the rule'
Any chance Joe G takes the fall if the Yanks fail to make the playoffs? He looks tight and the teams playing tight. It also looked to me like Jeter was limping going after a short fly ball and Nunez looked to be wincing at first before he was thrown out stealing in the 9th. Any update if these guys are injured?
Wallace Matthews (12:08 PM)
I don;t think so because he has a built-in excuse -- the injuries. It's the same pass Terry Francona got two years ago, but like Francona I would expect him to be on the clock next year. Jeter rolled his ankle in Tampa but as always, insists he is fine and will not talk about it. Don;t know what Nunie's problem was except that Girardi threw him under the bus last night, saying he slowed down on his slide or he would have been safe
Will Cashman be flying in to read these guys the riot act (coaches , manager and players) soon? At times recently they look uninspired- going through the motions. And there lack of productive hitting- not just with RISP - moving runners over with outs is horrible. Your take?
Wallace Matthews (12:10 PM)
Cashman is dealing with an important family issue right now and I doubt he'll be flying in to do that. But really, how much would that help? Does this highly-paid veteran roster really need to be reminded that they're on the verge of falling ito real trouble? I don't think it's a lack of desire or urgency. I think the truth lies elsewhere, that this aging roster simply isn;t good enough to maintain a high level of play over 162 games, and the lineup isn;t built for the kind of offense you are talking about. All that business about the Yankees relying too much on the HR now seems to be more than just a theory. It's cold hard fact and it's killing them
Wally you do fine work and have just been hired as the Yankees new GM. What?s the max you?d be willing to pay Martin next year. Would you risk a two-year contract (same salary 2014) on Martin. I?m not convince Romaine is an everyday MLB C, and I doubt if we see Sanchez before 2014 at the very earliest.I don?t say this because of the game last night, but I think Robertson has been more lucky than good with his Houdini act. He?d probably be okay as closer until somebody else comes along, but based upon this year Soriano is clearly better. I see Robertson having 3-4 more BS a year and that could translate to few more losses. Big deal in the new 2nd WC format. How much salary (if any) and how many years would you add to Soriano?s contract, if/when he opts out of his contract?
Wallace Matthews (12:15 PM)
Hey Fred. Wow. a lot to deal with. First of all, I don;t think I want the job, but thanks anyway. On the subject of Martin, I think the Yankees might go for two years at $4m per, a big comedown from the four years at 6 or 7 they were talking about in spring training. I agree with you on Romine and his lingering back injury this year adds to the doubt. You;re right, Sanchez is at least two years away. As for Robertson, there's no denying that he was among the best relief pitchers in all of baseball last year, both in being difficult to hit, and in K/9IP ratio. But something is certainly different this year. His stuff does not seem to have the same life and he is a lot more hittable. Soriano is definitely the better option right now and if he does opt-out, which he is definitely considering, that will be a tough call for the Yankees. Cashman was dead-=set against paying him $13.5M to be the set-up man. I can;t imagine him agreeing to $15M over a number of years. he might decide to look elsewhere or within the organization for the successor to Mariano
Matt (On the ledge)
Based on his swoon at yet another critical time, has Swisher all but sealed his fate to not return as a Yankee in 2013?
Wallace Matthews (12:17 PM)
First of all, come back inside. They are still tied for first place and these are still the Boston Red Sox they;re playing. As for Swisher, I thought this was decided even before the season considering how much money he is expected to demand and Hal's dictum to trim payroll to 189M. Can;t imagine what Swish can do between now and the end of the season, whenever that happens to be, to change their minds.
Do you know where we can find a cloning machine? 8 more Jeters and maybe we will start winning.
Wallace Matthews (12:17 PM)
what are you gonna do with 9 38-year-old shortstops?
Mike (Long Island)
Off-the-field question: Although I'm a 50-years-long Yankees fan, there will be a time in the very near future (when Jeter and Mo retire) that my passion for the Yanks will be much, much lower. It's probably not fair to ask Cano and Robertson and Teixeira and CC to be as beloved as the "core" Yankees were, but it seems like there's no one on the current team who's even close to being as "root-able" as O'Neill, Bernie, Cone, Tino, etc., let alone the core 4. If the Yankees were a publicly traded stock, I'd short them because their business is likely to begin suffering once Jeter and Mo are gone -- attendance will certainly drop, as will broadcast ratings. I guess Hal and Hank won't be able to just keep the business their father built on auto-pilot.
Wallace Matthews (12:20 PM)
Mike, I understand completely what you;re saying. I've never had the same affection for any baseball team like i did for the Seaver-Koosman-Ryan-Jones-Agee-Clendenon '69 Mets. It's the natural progression of things. as for the business future of the Yankees, it will be interesting to see how Hal can forestall what looks like the inevitable decline of this team and continue to fill the high-priced seats in his ballpark. thankfully, his problem, not mine
Why does Girardi love Pearce so much and McGehee so little? Pearce has a long uncontrolled swing and doesn't offer much. McGehee at least has some success in the majors. Pearce couldn't even stick with the Astros. And has there been a Cervelli sighting yet?
Wallace Matthews (12:21 PM)
Don;t know what the thing with Pearce is, except that maybe Girardi likes him at first base better than McGehee. With all the other things going on with this club it's not something I've thought to ask him about. And yeah, Cervelli is here -- I even saw him warm up a pitcher once -- but when we'll see him play a significant role in a game, i couldn;t tell you.
Mike (Long Island)
Thanks for putting to rest the idea that the Yankees are some kind of lethargic football team that needs Knute Rockne to give fire-and-brimstone speeches. Baseball isn't a game driven by testosterone. The truth is simply that guys like Tex, Swish, Grandy, Martin, etc. are good, not great. Even the most talented guy on their roster -- Cano -- is far from a great player. Hard to admit, and tough to accept, but I wish Cashman would acknowledge it and act accordingly.
Wallace Matthews (12:23 PM)
The problem is, cashman is locked into too many long-term deals that are difficult to move, which is why the A.J. Burnett trade, as well as it worked out for Pittsburgh, was so surprising. It's very tough to get other teams to take your overpriced garbage. And I disagree with you on Cano. I think he is a great player whose focus could improve significantly.
BJB (Charleston, SC)
Could Nunez, Mesa and McGehee have done any worse lasst night? Why not be creative and give some of these guys a chance to add some spark to an all too predictable lineup? Going with the same cast that helped to lose the 10 game lead and expecting different results is...what we're seeing right now.
Wallace Matthews (12:25 PM)
I hear what you;re saying but could you really imagine Joe Girardi, in the midst of blowing a 10-game lead, taking a chance on guys like those in must-win games? I think if the yankees are going down, they're going to have to go down with their best on the field. Otherwise, the manager would definitely take the fall. and Girardi's no dunce.
How many more decent Kuroda starts are the Yankees going to lose?
Wallace Matthews (12:26 PM)
Funny, because they all seem to like him so much. Except on the days he pitches
I've always been a big Cano supporter and you can't question his talent, but he has been somewhat hit-or-miss for much of this year, especially considering that this should be right in the midst of his "prime." Are there any legitimate indications that his work ethic isn't what it should be. I understand the "style" aspect of his game and he is still a tremendous player, but it can be frustrating, especially when compared to the effort that Pedroia put out last night.
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
No indications that Cano's work ethic is lacking; quite the contrary, almost always out for early BP and FP. But I agree that sometimes it appears that looking cool out there is as important to him as making the play, which is why i think he didn;t dive for that ball last week in Tampa. That's something that has to change for cano to fully reach his potential
Jerry (Charlotte, NC)
I heard rumblings that Gardner could possibly come back to be a defensive/baserunning sub...have you heard anything of the sort?
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
they haven;t mentioned that in a while, but after Nunie's gaffe last night it might be worth bringing up today. Thanks
Heading into last night the Red Sox were 10-24 since August 1. Bad teams have steamrolled them without thinking about it, and Boston's AB's early in the game last night had an already-on-vacation appearance to them.What does it say about these Yankees that they even found a way to lose to THAT team?
Wallace Matthews (12:29 PM)
read my column today on the website
Do you think the yankees will ever have to go through a rebuilding phase like the red sox are?
Wallace Matthews (12:30 PM)
The "R" word scares the hell out of the Yankees because it means lots of empty seats in the ballpark. Frankly, I never thought it would come to that but now I'm starting to suspect it might be in their future, too
Wallace Matthews (12:31 PM)
Thanks, everyone. sorry I didn;t get to as many questions as usual. i was a little long-winded today. Had a lot to say. I'll have more to say with don LaGreca on ESPN 98.7FM in a few minutes so tune in if you can. See you next week