I think you are wrong here. A team does not NEED to spend leftover money. They can choose as a business decision not to spend it if they feel it is not worth it. So, if a player really feels he has the leverage you say he does (and I disagree with that also), and a team feels he is not worth the money, they can just not sign him.
I also think the big pops go early, there is always demand for the premium players and that starts with day 1. And yet you honestly feel they would be better off waiting?
And my question of you to explain your thought process was pertaining to this comment by you.
"The big question is whether we should have done this at the beginning of the period when there was much more talent out there. And lined up that talent a year before, knowing we would spend to the max. It is hard to tell if this is a guy that might have signed for a much lower amount (like $300K) early in the period but now gets much more since some teams like the Phillies have to spend what they had left and there was less talent that could justify that."
First off, we DID spend to our max and that is why the Phillies made the decision to make a trade for more allocation. They only would have done that if in fact there was someone out there they wanted.
I think AF explains it pretty well above. You are supposing something you have no idea of. None of us know that the exact same trade could have been made with the Orioles early on and I think probably not. But yet, isn't that what you base your argument off of?