I'm floating this idea from a philosophical stand point - essentially, if an alien from another planet looked at the Pirates' predicament, how would he (it?) recommend we move forward independent of any human emotions or hang-ups familiar to sports fans. Here's what I see him (it?) saying:
"Any expenditure by a basement dwelling team without talent in its system, intended to serve near term goals and not designed to serve the team's long term goals, are actually antithetical to improvement due to the MLB draft system rewarding the worst W-L teams the best pick.
"I would rather the owner pocket that money than negatively impact the team's chances at future (immediate) high draft picks. That goes for just about every free agent veteran on the team currently: Bobby Crosby, Iwamura, Dotel and Donnelly. It goes doubly true for free agents like Adam Dunn circa 2008, who could have cost the Pirates the 2nd pick in the 2010 draft in exchange for 2 years of above average production.
"Exceptions in my mind can and should be made for bounce-back players acquired cheaply, especially when they may be retained for a longer period of time, and of course the advancement of prospects, as they can not be counted on to succeed, and if they do, are certainly worth the trade off in drafting status.
"That this goes against competitiveness in baseball is besides the point. That the Pirates are probably forced by MLB to spend money on veterans is besides the point. Acquisition of high end prospect talent should be the team's primary goal. Given the circumstances, and with a goal of systemic change, it is exceedingly the best way to go.
"While I am not calling for intentionally losing, any effort to stem the losing in the short term with external assets should be considered anti-future.
"Once prospects are acquired and the team is poised to be successful, the inclusion of high-paid free agents and trades for established players to augment prospects is advisable - needed even - and the trade off of losing high draft picks is sustained winning. When winning ceases, revert to efforts to attain high draft picks.
Any thoughts on this?