I don't think it's that sinister.
First, the Cardinals are not the Yankees.
And St. Louis is not New York.
It would be hard to imagine there being two more different approaches to building winning baseball teams, though the Yankees have become more Cardinals-like in recent seasons.
But the two are connected in terms of being the two teams with the longest runs of consecutive winning seasons. Just one has a World Series in the past 10 years, and it's not the Yankees.
Anyway, the Cardinals' plan, which has been described a million times here and in other chats and articles and columns and podcasts and everything else, is to build a team that is capable of winning the division every season, because a team that can win the division can go the distance if things break its way.
This goal, the Cardinals believe, allows them to win and contend every season.
Sustained winning is the goal, not spikes and spinouts.
Could they be more aggressive? Sure. Do they believe that creates the risk of messing up the model? Sure. There it is.
This strategy limits the Cardinals from being on the front lines of the free-agent bidding wars, and increases the importance of hitting on the big free-agent commitments they do make. It values smart drafting and internal development, and giving those internal options a chance to thrive before filling from the outside. We've covered all of this ground before, yet have to do it all over again every offseason.