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 day everyone and welcome to our ALDS Edition Yankees live chat. Let's get started
Mark (Typo, NC)
Why worry about A-Rod's psyche? Hasn't he learned from this year's results (lack thereof) that he is fading? Why wouldn't he understand and Joe's got to, as well.
Wallace Matthews (12:00 PM)
It's an excellent question and one that I thought about as I wrote today's column. I ultimately decided from the Girardi quote I used that the manager would take it into consideration because he knows, as those of us arounf the Yankees do, that of all the players on the roster he is most likely to be mentally affected by what he would consider a demotion. That's why Girardi didn;t mention emotional factors when moving Tex or Grandy or Ichiro. It is a factor with A-Rod and if he's pouting or rebelling against the switch, then hes evenmore useless tan he's been so far
Jeff G (NY)
Being close to the Yankee clubhouse, would you still say that confidence is high for them coming out of this series victorious with the remainder of it in the Bronx, or are the RISP issues and game-4 SP leading to a bit of a desparation feel?
Wallace Matthews (12:03 PM)
I would say their confidence is still high, becuase like any successful organization, the Yankees believe in their history more than their present. To them, the remainder of the ALDS is just another three-game series at home, and they've won the majority of those. as for the RISP issues, i think the players take this less seriously than fans and the media and the Sabermetricians. They view it as the normal ups and downs of a baseball game or a basebal season and believe it will eventually even out. It's an understandable way to look at it, but with potentially only three games left in their season, it's got to even out like right now.
James F (NY)
Without wishing to jump on the A-Rod hate train. How about this idea...if it really is worth approximately $50m a year to the Steinbrenners to be below $189m in 2014, and a major impediment to building a winning team would be A-Rod's contract ($114m remaining after this year, excluding HR bonuses) when he will envitably decline (or continue to depending on your view) - why are the Yankees not prepared to eat up to $50m of A-Rod's contract (which would mean some other team would be paying approximately $13m a year for the last 5 years of a contract of an above-average third baseman)? I appreciate you wouldn't get much back in the way of prospects, but it seems removing the burden of the rest of A-Rod's contract could be a significant factor in building a winning team with a $189m payroll?
Wallace Matthews (12:08 PM)
First of all, I think the Hate Train is oversold and we'll have to bump you to the next available Hate Train. we'll let you know who that one is named after later on. As for eating the contract, i don;t think the Yankees are quite ready to give up on Alex yet but I could see this happening after the 2013 season if a-Rod continues the decline that clearly started about two years ago.
What time do you think lineups will be posted?
Wallace Matthews (12:09 PM)
You're serious, right? Tough to say. Before Game 2, they came out about 3 p.m. Tonight's game is about a half-hour earlier, so it might be mid-afternoon. I'll be in the gym so I might not be the first to have them, but I'm sure andrew Marchand will be all over it
Bob H (upstate NY)
This Yankee team takes more first pitch strike fastballs and leaves more runners in scoring position on than any other in recent history. Could there be a corelation? They seem to be in pitcher's counts and in the hole.
Wallace Matthews (12:11 PM)
Maybe, but the Yankees hitting philosophy has always been to work the count and make pitchers throw a lot of pitches, and there's a natural tradeoff to that. But sometimes, you would like to see them jump on that get-over first pitch fastball, wouldn;t you?
Harrison (New York)
Would you rather the Yankees sign Bourn or Hamilton?
Wallace Matthews (12:12 PM)
Bourn. Less money probably and less risk of an in-season meltdown. Remember, there's an awful lot of coffee shops in NYC
Do u think there is a remote possibility that Some team would want arod this offseason?
Wallace Matthews (12:13 PM)
Very remote, unless the Yankees ate a huge chunk of the contract, and even then, another team would probably have to assume about $13-$15M a season. If you had that much to spend on a player, would you spend it on a 15-20HR a year guy who is about to turn 38?
Jonathan L. (Bronx,Ny)
With all the talk about Arod do you think he would benefit from using a lighter bat? And do you think you could pose that question to Girardi?
Wallace Matthews (12:14 PM)
I think that's a question better posed to alex although the implications are such that he might take it as an insult. I'm willing to give it a shot, though
HI WALLACE.... IF YOU WERE THE MANAGER, WHICH WILL BE YOUR LINEUP 4 TONIGHT??
Wallace Matthews (12:15 PM)
Let's see. RH pitcher, Jeter, Ichiro, A-Rod, Cano, Swisher, Tex, Martin, Granderson, Ibanez DH
Jeff G (NY)
Ichiro's presence has added the needed extra dimension to the lineup and really re-vitalized his productivity as well. He's getting up there in years, but what lies ahead for the Yankee-Ichiro marriage?
Wallace Matthews (12:17 PM)
That's one of the key questions of this off-season, but I think Ichiro has shown he has enough left to be a viable short-term alternative for the Yankees in RF and makes it easier to part ways with Swisher. However, it all depends on how much he wants and for how long. I wouldn;t give him more than two years and would hope to get him for 7-8M a year
Jeremy T ((Canandaigua, NY))
Rather than going big for Bourn / Hamilton, what about an OF of Gardner -Grandy-Ichiro and going after a 3B, moving A-Rod to DH?
Wallace Matthews (12:18 PM)
Honestly, I think that OF is the most likely scenario for next season but as for A-Rod, I;m not sure he gives you enough production to be a full-time DH. Ironically, the best part of his game is in the field these days. How about Designated Third Baseman and have someone hit for him?
First of all, great columns, Wally. A-Rod must have known about the oversold Hate Train, would that negatively affect his psyche at the plate even more?
Wallace Matthews (12:20 PM)
Thank you, Emile. I can't really analyze him but it seems tome that he has come to accept the hate from the fans and to rationalize it as either jealously or the natural enmity fans, esp in opposing ballparks, have for a great player. But I think he still believes he has the esteem of his peers, and in fact sees himself as a mentor to young players in the clubhouse and even on other teams (i.e., Manny Machado). I think being dropped inthe lineup would be a sign that even his manager thinks he has declined and would affect him a lot more than any booing or negative columns
Do you think Russell Martin's recent play has gotten himself a new contract with the yanks?
Wallace Matthews (12:22 PM)
Yes, but honestly, I thought he was coming back anyway becuase of Girardi and Cashman's desire to have a solid defensive catcher who the pitchers trust, and Martin has certainly been that. and to both the GM and the mgr's credit, both have said all season they believe RM is a better hitter than he was showing, and over the past few weeks their faith has been justified
A-Rod has talent and he's a year or 2 younger than Jeter, Ichiro respectively. If they can hit, why can't A-Rod?
Wallace Matthews (12:23 PM)
Different kind of hitters. A-Rod as a power guy relies more on bat speed than bat control, and watching him try to catch up to fastballs recently it's obvious he has lost significant bat speed. Also, we can;t discount the positive effect PEDs may have had on him earlier in his career, and the negative effect their (presumed) absence is having now
Bob H (upstate NY)
Geeze, could the Yankees ever teach Nunez to field ground balls? He's a good stick but such a liability with a glove. It would be great to play him at third and send A-Roid packing.
Wallace Matthews (12:24 PM)
Believe me, it's not for lack of trying. That was one of the reasons they sent him down, so that he could play SS every day and work out some of his problems. But he go thurt right away and missed a big chunk of the AAA season so i doubt much was accomplished. And BTW, I'm sure your speliing of ARod's name was a typo, right?
If the Yankees lose tonight, do you still go with Phil Hughes tomorrow night?
Wallace Matthews (12:26 PM)
That will be the question of the night IF they lose, because I'm sure Girardi will refuse to address it before the game. But if I;m the manager, I go with CC on short rest because if you don;t wn Game 4, there ain;t gonna be no Game 5
Mike B (Hamburg ny)
I would assume giardi and all the coaches see the stats we see as well as the at bats with people on base and so on and so forth. How many division playoff series do we have to get beat in before something changes. I understand that he is not the one who is at the plate. But a manager must put them in the best position to win. If that means taking highly paid players out of the line up or moving them down. Or replacing swisher with someone who can hit with runners in scoring position. Why don't he do it? Is it because he loves waiting around for the so called long ball that we've only hit one of threw 2 games. I can't see us going very far with him running the team like this. I hope that the brass sees this and there are changes in the future. If there isnt I don't see much happening besides a diminishing record in the coming years. That being said I hope everyone steps up this risp problem is frustrating to watch and I am sick of yelling at the tv. I feel like a idiot.
Wallace Matthews (12:28 PM)
Yeah, don;t yell at the TV. It never answers and if it does, you've got a problem., Or a new type of TV. anyway, the problem is Girardi doesn't have a lot of options. If you drop A-Rod in th elineup, who's your No. 3 hitter? You say swisher doesnt hit w/RISP, OK, who goes into that slot and plays RF? Girarid unfortunately is shackled with a roster that is not designed for substitutions or PHs. these are the guys who are supposed to do the job and are highly paid to do it.
Any chance that Chavez gets the nod at third against a RHP?
Wallace Matthews (12:29 PM)
That would open up an amazing can of worms that I think Girardi would do anything to keep the lid on
Wallace Matthews (12:29 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions guys. My time is up but we'll do it again next week, (hopefully) before Game 4 of the ALCS