At a certain point it's not a false choice. Ask the Phillies. or the Yankees.
I'm not saying the O's are down that path yet, but you do have to prioritize one timeframe or another. Otherwise you're just treading water and hoping you don't get too much worse while other teams are getting better.
It's give and take. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You either build the system through trades OR build the system through the draft and make a run at the playoffs now. You can try both, but you're only going to hurt the prospects of either happening unless you're extremely careful about how you do it.
I agree with Rshack....it is a false choice. There's reasons that the Phillies nad Yankees take the path thay've taken, but it's their job to weigh those things and figure out the short-term and long-term plan.
Nothing prevents you from doing both. There's certainly different risks, but the Orioles are getting suckered into the Phillies/Yankees mode right now....because we get a little lucky with a group over a 3 year span. Let's bring that back to Melewski's comments in the BA writeup.....he suggests the Orioles have "proven" that 2012 and 2013 aren't flukey with their 96 win effort in 2014. Maybe, but you have to realize that there is (IMO) limited upside moving forward with this group. If OAK does anything for Billy Beane, it's that the market limitations JUSTIFY the turnover he needs to do regardless. When you're in NY....you can't use market limitations to make (and take) competitive sustainment risks.
The Orioles ARE getting locked into that right now. The best SS in the AL is playing 3B...but we HAVE to sign JJH (who I really like...nothing personal) to a 3/40 deal. Many people think it's a great deal.....
....but I'd have rather gone after someone like Javier Baez or Makiel Franco and slide MM over. Both of those teams could deal those players from depth, but you have to do something to help them. Both of them have bad contracts they'd probably like to unload so...
If you did something with the Cubs where they get Tillman and something for Edwin Jackson and Baez (maybe you get a 3rd team like SEA or SD involved with Tillman) then you are accepting the risk between Jackson and Tillman (as a bridge to HHarvey in 2017) and the rookie (Baez) versus the veteran (Hardy)....it could still work out great in 2015.....but you get add a longer term piece and aren't eating up resources.
Same in Philly. They played Asche this year and Franco will push him. They need to get rid of Howard......if you took 25M of Howard's contract could you do something like ZDavies and Bridwell for Howard, cash and Franco?
I'm not saying those are the exact deals, but it's certainly a framework to work around. Today our answer is to overpay Hardy. Nobody noticed how many more balls were in the dirt to 1B this year?
You have situations in both LAD and PIT where they have some high end OFers that are blocked and the Orioles are good fits with several different packages including talent and money.
If the Orioles had Carl Crawford and Joc Pederson on the corners this year versus DeAza and Markakis....would that be OK? The first option is cheaper and has more long-term potential. Could we bat Joc Pederson 3rd this year? Could we still win with that?....or are we desperate to have Markakis no matter what?
PIT is playing Bell at 1B in the AFL to try and pretend that he's not blocked in the OF. Even if that happens (I say it won't, whatever) there's still Austin Meadows there...also blocked....are they moving him to 3B? If you sign Nick (2+), then go get Meadows to be your longer term plan at leadoff.
Right now....the Orioles don't plan for a player package, they are sort of assuming whatever falls to them will work. It's actually been very successful the last couple of years, although I question it's viability as a longer term strategy.
DD says "our best players will come from within" because he doesn't want to (not allowed to) compete for top talent in FA....OK....but if you are going to do that (I've said this before) you need to have a system that can legitimize that position and I'd suggest it's not there.