We could go after Donaldson but there simply are not real good MI or 1B options that can be bought.
Free agent SP has not been a good bet either. There were several 5+ year contracts in 2016. None of them have been good and now we are going into the years likely to be even less productive.
Price / Age 30 / 7-217 / 4.5 / 1.6 / 2.7 for a total WAR of 8.8 and which is $10.23M/WAR
Greinke / Age 32 / 6-206.5 / 2.2 / 5.1 / 3.5 for a total 10.8 which is $9.72M/WAR
Cueto / Age 30 / 6/130 / 5.5 / 1.2 / .2 for a total of 6.9 WAR which is $12.6M/WAR
Zimmerman / Age 30 / 1.3 / 1.0 .9 for a total of3.2 which is $18.75M/WAR
Samardzia / Age 30 / 5-90 / 2.6 / 3.8 / -.2 for a total of 6.2 which is $8.7M/WAR
Wei-Yin Chen / Age 31 / 5-80 / .9 / .5 / 1.2 for a total of 2.6 which is $11.8M/WAR
Leake / Age 28 / 5-80 /2.5 / 3.2 / 2.3 for a total of 8 which is $5.5M WAR
Kennedy / Age 31 / 5-70 / 1.6 / -.2 / 1.0 for a total of 2.4 which is $15.4M/WAR
it is certainly possible they are bad bets.....but how has relying on the farm system worked out? Worse results, I'd argue. It's kind of like when you read how RPs are a bad FA investment, w/o anyone ever contemplating how bad those results would be with the next AAA pitcher coming up and taking innings.....If we care more about efficiency than effectiveness, it's hard to see them ever going in on a legit FA signing that changes the team in any meaningful way, without major luck.