1) This is a conundrum and problem the Cardinals recognize, especially with relievers, and it's one they attempted to remedy by going after Andrew Miller. They're evolving on this approach because it hasn't worked well, it hasn't yielded the results, and they're bothered that they get more production from Neshek, Norris than they have from higher-cost free agents.
2) I don't share this opponent. The means are different, even if the ends are the same. I will add that of the 30 teams that will start a player they've invested a lot of money in as much as possible before moving on, there are 30 teams that do that.
3) Yes, the Cardinals are risk-averse. But that second wild-card stuff is hogwash. I'm sorry. I don't know where it started, but it doesn't connect at all with the data-driven decisions the Cardinals make because when you think about data "getting in the playoffs" is a far wider delta for a team to consider and target than "land on the head of a pin as the second wild-card" and go no further. DeWitt has told me if extra spending could guarantee the division win, he would do it, because the division win is their target entry into the postseason. It's the easy one to predict of the ways in, and that's because it's linear -- against the other four teams in the division -- and it's the only one that doesn't require the coin-flip one-game play-in to reach the division series.
4) So he's an owner. It's a general manager game these days. Has been for the last several years. If anything, Matheny was an outlier as often he was he was presented as the face of the franchise and offering his view of how the thing should be run, the games dictated, and even the roster made. Around the game, more and more, it's the GMs making those comments publicly, and talking about the levers and buttons being pushed.
That's the modern game. I think you should consider that Shildt is more like TLR than you realize.