In all sports, a minimum of about a quarter of the teams aren't going to try very hard to win in any given year, because they actually have a very low chance of winning, regardless of how much they spend. The Phillies of ca. 2015 are a case in point of a large market team in such a position. They had gotten so bad that short-term veteran patches just couldn't possibly right the ship. Those who claim that they should try to 'win' need to give a definition of 'winning'. In most sports, the way the media and public perceive winning, is to win the championship or at least to win one playoff round. When the dismal Sixers, pre-program, made the playoffs and were promptly eliminated, that was not counted as 'winning'. A baseball team which goes all out with non-sustainable improvements in a given year, with the hope of winning 78 games rather than 68, will not be counted as having 'won' anything.
For a team in this position, the sensible approach is to go all out to 'win' as soon as possible and eschew expensive quick fixes. Since the team won't be good over the next two seasons, money spent on two-year contracts to vets, unless their is a good probability of flipping them for talent which will actually help in the future, is dumb. Spending on young FA or international players, who can be expected to still be making a serious contribution 5 years down the road can be a plus. Spending every cent possible in the draft and international amateur signings is a plus. Trading what is tradable for talent that can help you win in the future, even if it causes losses today, is a plus. Hiring the best possible scouts and development staff, as well as MLB coaches who can teach and nurture young talent, rather than just putting established MLB talent in the best position to win, is a plus.
Baseball is different than football. A football team that loses big has a great chance of signing a stud draftee who can make a big difference immediately or after one season of learning. Even a stud baseball draftee takes longer and the chances of drafting wrong are much higher. It is a lot longer process to turn around an awful baseball team. That may be a big part of the real problem.
A good baseball team that chose to 'cheat' on international signings, in a manner all but encouraged by MLB, gives itself an advantage over a decade into the future, making it even harder for the poor teams, like the Phillies were, to catch up in even the intermediate time frame, unless they took the same cheat approach, which the Phillies did not.