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Here is the exact type of coaching story you were talking about (posted 2 days prior to the podcast): In Pittsburgh, we call it the Searage Effect.
One of the the things you really didn't explore is how our GM has been able to find relief pitchers from scrap heaps and get value. After that they get flipped or DFA'd. You mentioned Bosox deal, but right now Vin Mazzero is giving us quality innings and Wilson & Morris (former starters) have done the same. There are a lot of live arms in AAA too. Additionally we've continued to do well without Burnett & Wandy (Mcdonald too.) I and most Bucs fans realize Locke is going to come to earth, but Cole has not scratched the surface of his talent yet. Even if this team plays .500 the rest of the way, it been a thrill we haven't in 20 years.
This is a common theme for most teams that contend on the cheap, but I'm not convinced in most cases that it's a skill so much as a "when we're winning it's because this happened" correlative