I was recently discussing the Tampa Bay Rays as the sort of model for smart baseball teams with lower revenue streams with a friend, and it led me to an interesting thought about all of this current trade deadline talk. The Rays have been a very successful team since 2008, and have been a complete non-factor at the trade deadline. The only name I even recall them being linked to at a recent deadline was Jason Bay, and they were reportedly unwilling to part with just about any of their top prospects. Almost all of their signficant trades have come during the offseason, and in the majority of those deals they would be viewed as the "selling" team rather than the buyer. Their significant trades since the offseason before 2008:
2008 Deadline: Came and went. Nothing
2009 Deadline: Came and went. Nothing
Pre-2011: Traded Jason Bartlett to the Padres for Cole Figueroa, Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos, and Adam Russell; Traded Matt Garza, Zach Rosscup, and Fernando Perez to the Cubs for Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, Robinson Chorinos, Sam Fuld, and Brandon Guyer
2011 Deadline: Came and went. Nothing.
Pre-2013: Traded Derek Dietrich to the Marlins for Yunel Escobar; Traded Wade Davis, James Shields, and a PTBNL (Elliot Johnson) to the Royals for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard
The Delmon Young/Brendon Harris for Matt Garza/Jason Bartlett deal was a rare move where neither team really thought they were buying or selling.
The only moves that could really be considered "buying" were Zaun in a minor August deal, Rafael Soriano in a move where the Braves were desperate to unload him after he accepted an arbitration offer they only made because they wanted a draft pick, Roberts in a minor deadline deal, Francisco in an August trade, and Escobar after a lot of negative publicity around him. I guess maybe you could throw in Chad Qualls, but he had an ERA over 8 at the time and the Rays were just trying to steal a draft pick (which they did).
In every other major deal they were the ones giving up the more established major league player and acquiring potentially useful pieces for the future. Qualls and Roberts were their only deadline acquisitions and they haven't really sold anyone. Seems like they just build up a team in the offseason and go with what they have save a few minor moves, then unload some of the players nearing free agency to load up again for the future.
Anyone think this is the right approach for the Pirates?