The NYM currently have about $54 Million in annual salary sitting on the DL (Wright, Beltran, Reyes, Delgado, Putz and Maine) and that's before their ace Johan Santana (just a hair under $19Million per) makes his inevitable trip to the dl with elbow pain (gulp). When the Bucs started the season they were at just under $49Million. Since then they've shed approximately $30Million - I'm not sure what their current salary is or how much salary they paid of their "traded assets". But it's interesting to note that the Mets have greater than the bucs annual ML budget on the DL.
I'm sure this isn't the place to rant, but Alvarez, Sanchez, Lincoln and all of the bodies they got in return for their trades could end up being great. But the fact remains that we would only be competitive for a season or two, before they got too expensive to keep. With the Pirates record of player development, I just don't see them catching lightning in a bottle and putting together much of a string of great baseball. I think at our absolute acme, and that would require a top down reconstruction of our budget, farm system, scouting and player development (NH could be doing it as we speak) - we would be the Florida Marlins. Winning a WS in '97 and '03 - once a decade with completely different teams. Maybe that's a bad example because both teams had their share of high priced free agents, but they did have a nice core of talent that was homegrown - okay, really just '03. Nevertheless, they have seen some success as an expansion team and have won some big games.
Would it be too hard to recreate the Bucs of '79? Just off the top of my head:
LF: Milner? Bill Robinson?
SP: Candrelaria, Blyleven, D Robinson, Bibby
So their core of homegrown talent was: Stargell, Parker, Moreno, Candrelaria, Tekulve... not sure on several others. Foli, Ott, Garner, Milner, Bibby and Robinson would all be moderately priced free agent aquisitions. Madlock was a mid-season addition that didn't cost much from what I can tell (Al Holland and Ed Whitson). Blyleven was part of a blockbuster ('77)that saw the Bucs lose HOF talent Al Oliver (not nearly enough press for Scoop), but they also landed John Milner too!
Now does our current squad or farm have Talent Matching Stargell, Parker, Moreno, Candrelaria and Tekulve? Alvarez certainly appears to be a fit. McCutcheon (don't say which one) is too. For arguments sake, lets call them Stargell and Parker (lite). Moreno was good defensively but not an incredible bat, I don't think he'd be hard to replace, I'd say talent level of our former CF Nyjer Morgan. Candy Man? Would anyone buy a Brad Lincoln argument? No? Charlie Morton? Maholm? Duke? Alderson? Bueller? anyone? Let's pass on a Candy Man comparison. That leaves us with the scarecrow and his polarized shades... While Tekulve is forever in my heart, I think any closer outside of Mo Rivera is easily replaceable (refer to Capps, Matt or better yet, Williams, Mike).
So really we're just a homegrown #1 starter away from a core similar to our last WS team.
Okay, now everything falls apart though. The landscape of the game in 1979 was far different from today. I'll have to do some digging to find salary data for that decade. But I can say with confidence, the spread between the have's and the have nots (large/small markets) was not so drastic. As of last week, each division leader was also the highest spender in terms of ML salary. And yes, every year an A's, Rays or Twins hit the playoffs but they have to go through a combo of Boston, NY, Anaheim to get to the WS... Just not feasible.
So what's the point? Much like following the Bucs, there is no point. It's a silly fascination with my childhood favorite, flying in the face of logic and common sense. Nevertheless they're my team and I'll continue to support them, drinking all the kool-aid along the way.