Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto offered an honest description of the true nature of baseball struggles in 2018 when he spoke with reporters last January. "You could argue you're going to compete with more clubs to get the first pick in the draft," he said at the time, "than you would to win the World Series."
Through the working model perfected and demonstrated by the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, it has become apparent that under the current rules, the most effective strategy is to go all-out or go all-in. It goes something like this: Slash payroll deeply (and maximize profit), get rid of your best veterans, field a terrible team and aim for the bottom of the standings -- and you will be rewarded with the best talent at the top of the draft, like a Carlos Correa, a Kris Bryant, an Alex Bregman. And when you deem your club ready to ascend, that's when you spend, and add a Jon Lester, a Justin Verlander.
All-in or all-out, fully devoted either way. Never, ever let yourself get caught half-in, or half-out, and stuck in the middle -- not really contending for the World Series title, but picking 14th or 15th in the draft instead of first or second.