I've always felt that at some point ALL players become (edit: potential) chits to bring in different players, hopefully better ones.
Getting that process right is, of course, the hard part.
Is trading two teenage arms for Ben Gamel a developmental winner or loser? it will take a while to know.
That said, do the Dodgers get bonus points for being able to really develop catchers well, just because they hit the million-to-one shot in Piazza? Did the M's "develop" Griffey Jr. well? Did we "develop" Felix? "Developing" talent is far less important (IMHO) than it correctily appraising potential talent. Hey, maybe we missed the "refuses to learn" part that goes with Taijuan Walker's thunderous arm. If so, then that was more of an evaluation problem and less of a developmental one.
Since I just wrapped up a Psychology class talking about the psychologist Jean Piaget, I'm fairly sure that he might point out that Walker would make that cognitive leap when he was ready to make it, We can't accelerate that "developmental" process to any great degree.
Since players are commodities and are traded about, the bigger issue is whether teams can correctly identify which guy the other team has is more valuable to you than the guy you have. And we're not talking the Troutsoooor the Canos. Those are easy calls. Teams that get most of the Gamel or teenage arms question right are the ones that are most successful.
Drafting Ackley or Deej instead of somebody else is always a roll of the dice. See Piazza. But correctly evaluating what Deej can bring to you, in terms of on-field #'s or trading returns, is what "developing" talent is really about.
Would it really make any difference which organization "developed" Jose Lopez?
How do you develop tough fingernails for Paxton? An "I want to learn" attitude for Walker (if he doesn't have it already....I am not convinced he doesn't)? Very few young players are of the franchise type. The question isn't whether we develop Tank O'Neill, but whether his value for us is more in trade. I loved the discussion about Odor last night. He walks a handful of times a season, 15 in '16. 23 times last year. But the Rangers aren't worried at all about "developing" his eye, figuring it will come in the course of things and they are better off not mucking with the talents he already brings to the plate.
Piaget would agree. Ditto, Moe.