The Miami Heat have 3 players left on their team from last year. They have enough cap room for D-Wade, LeBron, and almost one more maximum contract.
This leaves the question, why haven't the Pirates done something similar? The Marlins (also in Miami) blow up their entire team every so often, and they rebuild around a select few players. They give young players a chance to show what they can be, and in just a few years, they can be ready to buy a few free agents, and compete.
This Pirates team is a bunch of young talent, mixed together with old semi-useful players. If we were serious about rebuilding, we would keep Jones, Walker, Alvarez, Tabata, McCutchen, Lincoln, Meek, and Hanrahan for next year, and trade the rest of the team to the highest bidder.
Our payroll would sink below $25 million, and the MLBPA might have a problem with our spending (again, back to Miami with the Marlins). But next year's draft is very deep, and with a low enough payroll, the Pirates could easily spend 20 million dollars on it. They could draft a good prospect in every round, and stockpile prospects. It could also be one of their last chances to do so, because Bud Selig and the MLBPA hope to have a new collective bargaining agreement by 2012.
The next step could be in Latin America. This system may also be changed by Selig, and we could see Latin American players in the draft. From early reports, next year's class of LA free agents is one of the best in years. The Pirates could also invest 10 million dollars here, and add to their new heap of prospects from the draft.
On the major league front, we could try out some younger players with potential at the open positions (players similar to what Hayden Penn was). We would stockpile prospects from the trades this offseason, the draft, and LA, and have a farm system that has depth in all levels.
A good farm system still wouldn't guarantee success, but it would be a very good start to building a long-term competitive team.