I've tended not to criticize the Lerners' spending because a) free agency is full of old, declining players who if they are any good now, won't be by the time we're actually contending and will become an albatross (see Carlos Delgado), and b) they've spent money on things that will bring the core of good, young players to build around--scouting, the international market, paying above slot for McGeary, Smiley Gonzalez... I'm ok with passing on Soriano or Rowand or Hunter. I'm not ok with sticking to some idiotic "slot" system that exists more to make cheapskate owners seem more like law-abiding citizens than the cheapskate owners they are.
Mark Lerner's comments in the Nationals Journal blog today are extremely disconcerting. If he truly intends to pass on draft picks whom we desperately need to continue to restock the system, then we really, truly have very little hope for the future. Not to be doom and gloom, but Lerner is describing the way the Royals and Pirates are run, and the results will be the same. This better be part of some negotiating ploy.