That's a little revisionist history on Jose Bautista. The Pirates did draft him, but lost him in the Rule 5 draft. He then bounced between the Royals, Rays, and Mets organizations before being traded BACK to Pittsburgh in the legendary Kris Benson trade. When the Pirates traded him to the Blue Jays, he was in midst of hitting .230 and only making about $1.5 million. They didn't trade him because they couldn't afford him - they traded him because he stunk. NO ONE could have seen Jose Bautista's most recent two seasons coming.
Yes, they couldn't afford to keep Ramirez, but who else? Where is this all-star team you speak of? The real reason the Pirates have been awful is poor management. Having the #1 pick in the draft and using it on Bryan Bullington - who, may have been the first #1 draft pick ever to be called a bust before the draft ended.
The Pirates have, historically, had one of the worst scouting and development departments in baseball. This list
is the entire history of Pirates top draft picks. Of their numerous Top 10 picks, Bonds is the only Hall of Fame-caliber player (not debating his Hall candidacy, just his statistical performance on the field). Maholm was a below league-average player, Benson was a .500 pitcher and McCutchen has had a nice start to his career. Of course, the jury is still out on the most recent picks, but this is an entire collections of bums, has-beens, and never-weres. This list
is even better. You can blame MLB distribution of income on a lot of things, but the Pirates are an historically mismanaged franchise.