Despite the number of big budget FA busts, he made a tremendous number of good trades over the years that were key to their contention and WS wins. The Nomar for Cabrera and Mientkiewicz deal was a huge gutsy call, and coupled with the low prospect for Dave Roberts move helped win 2004. Money certainly helped the Schilling deal (for Brandon Lyon, Caseey Fossum, and Jorge De La Rosa), but that would not have happened without gauging the potential contribution of all the players and offering some real talent to AZ. Add in the Bay for Manny deal and a few others, and it is hard to say that his success did not have a lot to do with his GM skills. Also, for almost every bust of an FA, there was at least one very good signing for low money (Ortiz, Arroyo, Mueller, Millar, Okajima, ...).