I believe they will pay the guys who are really good bets. Others, no. The first example is Abreu. If he doesn't retire after this year, we may have two very affordable 1B/DH types in Vaughn and Sheets who approximate Abreu's historical production. I wouldn't expect him back if that happens. With Giolito, Moncada, TA etc, it will depend on the circumstances. This is not an org that regularly gives us nice presents in the winter months, but they're not fine with paying guys market rates when it makes sense and fits into the larger picture of things.
Models have no ability to predict the maturation of young stars coming off injury-ridden years. As I've said before, we could have at least 5 major breakout years from certain guys and it wouldn't be the least bit surprising. No model is gonna predict 6.5 WAR from Robert, or 40 homers from Eloy, or CYA-vote-getting years from two of our starters. But again, it wouldn't be shocking for us. This just where we are as a franchise, which is good — it means a lot of potential for steep development curves and a lot of surplus value.
I don't necessarily disagree if assessing the situation in a vacuum, but I think it's obvious that he's operating in a way that ownership approves of. This is not an org that is committed to excellence. Winning, yes. Excellence, not really. And they are not 'cheap' tout court, but they clearly are in certain ways. The payroll is indeed high, but it's high due to short-term deals in low-competition markets. There's a cheapness there. I have said this org is cheap and have gotten corrected, but yet why on earth would we be wanting for a true RF for any other reason? It's nothing to harp on and shout from the rooftops, but there is a Sox way of doing things that has been consistently observed for as long as I've watched this team.
They are not committed to excellence per se, and that type of commitment is often fundamentally irrational on some level, or at least in certain ways. Given the same circumstances, it would be a Dodger or Yankee thing to sign Conforto, but it is an inefficient move from a dollar/WAR standpoint. Even with Conforto, we still need a lot of things to go right to win it all. The most rational thing to do — which is not equivalent to saying 'the best thing to do' — is play the young guys who will approximate Conforto's output and save money over that time frame. This also leaves room for other needs forthcoming, which may be more urgent than RF. And I expect that they will address those needs in some way, either a 'very Sox-like' way or a more conventional way that pleases the crowd here.