Originally Posted by JB98
You don't have to give one player $15 million.
Take a look at what KW did in between 2004 and 2005. He traded Lee and let Ordonez walk in free agency.
He used the savings to sign Dye, Pierzynski, Iguchi, Hermanson and Hernandez. He was also able to ink Garcia to an extension after trading for him in the middle of the 2004 season.
None of these were big-ticket free agent acquisitions. None of these moves made hearts go pitter-patter with excitement. But in combination, the team was completely transformed in one offseason.
And, yes, I know the Sox will not be winning the World Series in 2014. The 2013 Sox don't have nearly as many pieces in place as the 2004 Sox did.
I merely use this as an illustration of how a GM can quickly change the makeup of a roster without signing a big-ticket free agent, or embarking on some five-year rebuild. The Sox are not going to undertake a Cubs-style rebuilding, nor should they. Or, to use an example within the AL Central, I'm still waiting for that awesome Kansas City farm system to produce multiple playoff appearances at the big-league level.
I don't know why people think rebuilding through the draft and the minor-league system is a surefire solution. For every Tampa Bay and Washington, there's a Kansas City and a Pittsburgh. Those two organizations went through about four five-year plans. The Pirates might finally be starting to pull out of it, but the Royals still blow.
The Sox do need to do a better job of scouting, drafting and developing. That's obvious. But the bigger problem here is tying up too much money in just a handful of players. For years, the Sox have suffered from having a top-heavy roster. Now, the guys who are making the bucks have stopped producing, and this is what you get -- a team that's completely out of balance and stuck between a rock and a hard place in the short run.
The Kansas City/Pittsburgh example isn't a good one, IMO. Those teams either can't or won't spend much on major league payroll. So, they're trying to win through farm system only. The Sox aren't in that situation.
I agree that the Sox need to do a mix of both - better scouting/drafting/developing PLUS spending money on key veterans to fill out the roster and that could make themselves a contender.
The free agents that you mentioned above that KW acquired before the 2005 season was masterful. But the problem is that the Sox have come to rely almost solely on under the radar players and a "maybe we'll surprise everyone this year" approach to competing. Those kind of players definitely play a part in winning teams. But they can't be the cornerstone of our playoff efforts and this team will never be a consistent playoff contender if they just keep trying to catch lightning in a bottle.