My thinking is that paying the Crons or the Rosarios makes little sense when you can get equal production from a Kirilloff and a Larnach. It's the 1+ bWAR guys about to make that $7.5M number that get moved to let you retain a couple of frontline starters and a couple of perennial all-star position players, but yeah, I'm a fan of Tampa Bay. I'm looking to trade high-value veterans, at close to peak trade value, when I have a replacement, if I think the rookie will almost immediately exceed the current player's production. So if I think, for example, that Gordon and Lewis are going to produce more than Arraez and Polanco, I'm shopping the latter two for a prospect haul. It may not work, as it places the onus squarely on exceptional prospect development.
Tampa Bay does a phenomenal job. But I'm not exactly sure what it would look like if you increased their payroll from $65 million to $150 million. I mean, that would have to have a big impact, right?
Some of the guys they've had to trade, they would have kept, in turn missing out on some prospects, creating needs elsewhere, which they would have the budget to fill in free agency . . . it just changes the entire situation.
And I also wonder if they gain an advantage from *always* having to trade guys away. Some of them, they must realize are overrated (is there any doubt they knew Delmon Young wouldn't be missed?). Chris Archer could be another one. With most teams, other clubs would wonder about why someone was available . . . for instance, it was obvious to even me that the Dodgers were dangling De Leon to everyone back in the day because he wasn't healthy. They had a bunch of pitching prospects and, strangely, were just willing to give up one particular guy. But with the Rays, everyone gets traded, so there's no way to pick up when it's someone they actually don't like that much.
In terms of how this all fits into the topic . . . the Twins can afford to pay a high salary to a player who produces, but they can't afford to pay a high salary for nothing. And that's the problem with pitchers and the risk profile.