I always hear about how the mid-market teams can compete in MLB by signing and developing their own players. The teams that everyone points to as the models for this are the Indians, Twins and A's.
Now, I agree that player development can make the team more competitive. However, what does that really get you? None of the three teams I've mentioned have been in a World Series since 1997 when Cleveland lost. And the last of these three teams to win a World Series was when the Twins won it all in 1991. The highest payroll in 1997 was $59m and the highest payroll in 1991 was $33.6m. Clearly, those were different times. Sure, you can catch lightning in a bottle, like the Cardinals did last year, and win, but you certainly can't count on that. And they all seem to go through the same cycle: build team- struggle- 2-3 year window to reach playoffs- lose players- rebuild- repeat. Imagine what some of these teams could do if they were simply able to keep their own players! It would have changed the outcome of most of the World Series we've seen in the past decade. The teams that are able to spend big money are in the hunt every single year. The only excitement is seeing which of the mid-level teams(if any) were able to catch that lightning. Tragically, I still love it but, MLB is broken.