From the way Hoskins has talked about I'm not so sure he shouldn't still be on the roster for PHs.
It's just not that much money though. A few million over the threshold, which triggers the tiniest of taxes. It's a choice made not due to thrift, but because he's one of the many owners who treat it like a hard cap.
No, they shouldn't have emptied out the farm system - if anyone was even interested - and added $10-20 million, but a RH bench bat was still something they've lacked all year.
Of course you could also argue that if they suspected Rhys wasn't likely to make it through the season the team became even less worthy of investment. But that's not how they acted at the deadline.
And Middleton is the one who sets the expectations. The 2019 team was supposed to be good enough to make the playoffs (for real) with a new manager. The 2020 team was good enough that it was worth bringing JT and Didi back (in Dombrowski's view as well) but nothing was actually done to improve it (bullpens being what they are, those attempts fell short, and then eventually worked out, but since the offense is far worse than last year's team it hasn't mattered).
Obviously the issue is less, "Middleton should have done more to improve this 81-83 win team" as, "will it ever be better than than an 81-83 win team."
Off-season probably won't be boring. I bet we see a vax mandate for spring training too.