The biggest takeaway from Moneyball is not that you should always draft college pitchers, or that plate discipline is king, or that stats matter.
The biggest takeaway from Moneyball IMO is to figure out what is currently being undervalued/overvalued, and pounce.
The Yankees wouldn't trade Phil Hughes for Johan Santana. The Angels refusal to give up prospects has been well documented. The Red Sox have a bear grip on Clay Buchholz, the Mets won't move Fernando Martinez, and the Brewers won't trade Alcides Escobar for almost anything (including Roy Halladay, and/or Brandon Morrow & Jarrod Washburn.)
The more rumors I'm hearing this time of year, the more I'm becoming convinced that prospects are now overvalued. This of course is a dramatic departure (some may call it an over-correction) from years past, where big market teams could care less about anyone not on their 25 man roster.
So what am I suggesting? How about thinking outside the box and taking a radically different approach, especially for a small-market team. How about taking advantage of this overvaluation, and making our prospects available- readily available, in exchange for serious proven talent. Of course big league talent is more expensive, but that is why you have to get creative. For instance, how about getting involved in the Roy Halladay talks? I know, I know- Halladay won't accept a trade here and even if he would, we're in fifth place so what's the point? That is not what I am suggesting. I say get involved as a third team in the talks. The Reds have more talent in the minor league pipeline than they've had in years, if not decades. Yet the problem is that a lot of it is redundant- Yonder Alonso at 1B, Heisey/Stubbs in CF, Stewart/Wood/Leake for the rotation. So what's wrong with that? The Reds biggest needs/holes are at SS, LF, and 3B. I think a little creative thinking could go a long way towards fixing the big club's problems.
Rolen/Halladay is a good starting point. Zach Duke and Ian Snell with the Pirates might be another interesting option. Yunel Escobar has been reported to be available. There is a gaggle of promising but underachieving OFers out there (Balentien, D.Young, Dukes) whose teams would love to secure some cheap minor league talent. If none of the big market teams will give up their prospects, break the stalemate and get creative. There is plenty of opportunity in this market. As blasphemous as this may sound, now might be a great time to empty the cupboard.