This is a fascinating question because there is a lot that the Rays do right, and it's a great point about how the Cardinals could adopt the Rays' approach with a larger payroll. Absolutely. In a way they did for a long time, and we've discussed here in the chat and in print often about how the Cardinals and Rays had such a difficult time doing trades because they saw players the same way so so often. You have nailed it, there is something to the churn that the Rays do. Consider in 2011 they were able to bid farewell to players and downcycle in such a way that they had 10 draft picks in the first 60. That's a jackpot that a good team can turn into talent for years to come. The Rays did.
Like the Red Sox, the Rays do drop in and out of contention. Consider from 2006 to 2008, at a time when the Cardinals weren't picking high at all, the Rays had the third overall pick (2006) and then back to back Nos. 1 (2007 and 2008). At that point they really took off and spent a lot of time in the low 20s.
The Rays have had three picks in the top 15 in the past five drafts.
The Cardinals have had zero. The Rays picked fourth overall in 2017 and got their top prospect who reached the majors recently with that pick. They also drafted 13, 13 and 16 in the three drafts around it. So they're good at drafting and drafting higher.
I don't think keeping things "fresh" is always going to mean a winner. It's going to mean years in contention and then years out of contention as the young players find their footing. Munoz and Edman have played well recently, for sure. They also haven't failed yet. A year ago so many of the questions in here were about turning CF over the Bader, Bader, Bader. Edman is the new Bader. And that's fine, and that's how this works, but "fresh" isn't sustained success. Fresh has bumps. Fresh takes lumps. Fresh has a learning curve. And until the Cardinals are willing to down cycle some then they're going to be stale in the middle, and these flashes of debuts from players like Edman, like Bader, like a dozen others we've seen come and some stay and some go in the past decade will continue and the same questions will follow.