Thanks for your questions. Keep asking them, and I'll address more tomorrow.
Peach Tea Snapple: What's your confidence level in Sanchez/Cervelli/Stewart as the Pirates' starting catcher? Or do you feel like Neal Huntington should acquire a legitimate starting catcher?
Like I said when the Pirates acquired Cervelli, I think they deserve a bit of credit when acquiring catchers. They probably believe he is a legitimate starting catcher once all the variables have been considered, and if he's healthy, they might turn out to be right. I'd bet on Cervelli and Stewart (Sanchez will be in Indianapolis) being okay offensively and good behind the plate, and it isn't as if there's anyone better to acquire now anyway.
PedroPower: What is the over/under on number of images we can expect Root Sports to capture of A.J. and Locke together in the dugout next season?
Patient Pirate: Should the Bucs take a chance on Ryan Lavarnway as a possible candidate to compete with Gaby Sanchez?
Lavarnway, for those who don't know, is a pretty good 27-year-old right-handed first baseman (and catcher, although the Pirates probably wouldn't have a ton of use for him in that capacity) who the Red Sox just designated for assignment. I like the idea of trading for him, adding another right-handed first base candidate as a minor league free agent or in a minor trade, and just non-tendering Sanchez. Lavarnway is younger and cheaper and projects to be a better hitter than Sanchez anyway.
Long4Willie: Do you think Austin Meadows will develop more power as he matures (10 HRs in 341 ABs? With his great speed, why only five steals and five caught stealings? Is there a steep learning curve in learning the pitcher’s moves?
Meadows suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of the first three months of the season. It's possible that affected his running, or that the Pirates told him not to worry much about stealing bases; it's also possible he won't be much of a base stealer. As for his power, 10 homers in the equivalent of about 60 percent of a full season is actually pretty terrific for a player Meadows' age. And some of the stats you cite came when Meadows was barely 18. Guys that age tend not to hit many homers. In addition to the 10 home runs, he's also had his fair share of doubles and triples, another good sign. I don't see much to dislike about his performance so far, to be honest.
Peach Tree Snapple: Has the Red Sox front office lost its mind? I thought they were pretty good before this offseason, if you subtract the 2011 FA signing failure. I would love for the Pirates to have the kind of Monopoly money the Red Sox have. But how do the Red Sox spend their money? Do they address their pitching issues? No, they sign two aging sluggers for ridiculous contracts. And they had an infield of Bogaerts, Pedroia, Mookie, and Napoli before they made this trade. Where are these guys going to play? And now Cespedes is on the trade block? Do they think they’re playing MLB:14 The Show?
My reaction to the Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez deals wasn't as intense as yours, but I still found those moves a bit strange. I could have seen signing one of those two players if you're the Red Sox, but not both. Ramirez isn't a shortstop, and the next obvious place to play him would have been third base, so the team seems to be inviting defensive headaches by having both him and Sandoval on the team. I don't think either contract was wildly out of line, but signing both to these expensive deals creates as many problems as it solves. Perhaps the rest of what the Red Sox do this offseason will help us figure out what's going on here.
WTM: Will the Pirates make a R5 pick? Will Sellers, Elmore and Florimon bat 1-2-3 for the Pirates or 3-4-5?
2-3-4, with Jaff Decker leading off. If you haven't seen it recently, the Bucs' 40-man roster contains nine or 10 players who aren't prospects and who don't look, on the surface, like great bets to ever contribute. The Pirates will have to add Radhames Liz at some point, too. The Bucs will try to get some of these players through waivers at some point, and they probably will get decent contributions from a couple of them -- Liz and Elmore could be sleepers, for example. But it's fair to ask how many Chaz Roes and Angel Sanchezes they really need.
My guess is that they won't make a Rule 5 pick, by the way -- they already have enough experiments on their roster, and if there's someone really interesting out there, he'll probably be gone by the time the Pirates' selection comes up. Since the rules regarding Rule 5 eligibility changed a few years back, there hasn't been much talent available, and the costs of carrying an unready Wei-Chung Wang type on your roster can be very high.