BMcFerren: How much will Joakim Soria cost if the Pirates trade Mark Melancon?
Soria is an established reliever who's pitched in eight seasons and hasn't really been bad in any of them, and he has closing experience. So I don't think he'll be cheap. My guess is that he'll get a three-year deal, which the Pirates likely won't want to match, since Soria is already 31 and the Pirates seem to believe pretty strongly in their ability to find cheap, effective bullpen arms in unexpected places. In the very unlikely scenario where the Pirates trade Melancon and re-sign Soria, it will be because they got a really good return for Melancon, and not because Soria is likely to be that much cheaper or less risky. My best guess is that Melancon will be back with the Pirates next season, while Soria won't be.
Bucket of Jim Bibby sweat: Odds on the following players being on the Pirates' 2016 Opening Day roster? Mark Melancon, Francisco Cervelli, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton, Ben Zobrist, Jeff Samardzija, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Glasnow, Jung-Ho Kang, Radhames Liz, A.J. Burnett.
Janistranski: If you had to keep either Gregory Polanco or Austin Meadows, who would you keep and why?
Well, both. But if it has to be only one, I'll take Polanco, who's already gotten to the big leagues and still has at least as much upside as Meadows does.
Grover: Does Gift Ngoepe make the 40 man roster, or become a minor league free agent?
The Pirates need to add Ngoepe to their 40-man this offseason, or he'll be eligible for minor-league free agency. As DG Lewis pointed out elsewhere in the comments, there's also the possibility that the Pirates could re-sign Ngoepe to a minor-league deal. He would, however, be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if the Bucs signed him before the Winter Meetings. So they're going to have to add him to their 40-man or risk losing him.
Ngoepe isn't a great hitter, but he gets plenty of praise for his defense at shortstop, and the Bucs have shown in the past that they're willing to use roster spots on light-hitting but good-fielding shortstops like Gustavo Nunez, Pedro Florimon, Argenis Diaz and others, even when there's no clear role for them in the big leagues. The Pirates have a number of players who have to be added to their roster this season, but also a number of players coming off. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't add Ngoepe, but I think they probably will.
StickyWeb: Why do the Giants only build a championship every other year? Do they just feel sorry for the rest of MLB so they let another team win it in odd years? Probably, since they built very different teams each year they won it. Just rubbing everyone’s noses in it.
Why can't all of us retire right now with all of the money we won taking the Giants and Royals to win the World Series and AL, respectively, last year? Would have been pretty good odds and we all know exactly what it takes to win in the playoffs.
Why don't the Yankees and Red Sox build a team to win the World Series each year? I mean, they spend enough money to do so and we all know the simple formula for winning in the playoffs.
All excellent questions.
The Wolfe of Pittsburgh92: What are the odds of a Francisco Cervelli extension?
Remote. He'll be 30 in March, and the Pirates aren't going to want to sign him too far into his thirties. They've also got Elias Diaz on the way. Maybe they could sign Cervelli to a three-year deal right now, but if I were his agent, I'd want to make sure it was worth his while, because next offseason is probably the only shot at a big contract he's going to get.
BattlingBucs: What are your thoughts on Trevor Cahill as a reclamation project for next year? He seems to get the ground balls the Pirates like and he is still rather young. What do you think it would take to sign him? I have absolutely no clue on how to come up with a guess.
I don't know either. For a pitcher in the midst of a poor season in which he's been in four organizations, Cahill has a lot going for him -- he's only 27, he was pretty good in the past, he had a 63.1% ground-ball rate this year, and he pitched very well in the second half. I could easily see him getting a two-year deal in the $8 million - $10 million range, particularly from a team interested in making him back into a full-time starter. Of course, the Pirates are trying to contend and don't have much time to mess around with experiments that aren't going to work right away, but maybe they'll end up feeling like Cahill is ready to contribute, either as a starter or long reliever. He's worth watching this offseason.