It's as inspired as the National's winter so far.
Brian Bruney? An older and more injury prone Joel Hanrahan. Fantastic.
Pudge Rodriguez? Had to give him two years. Really, once Gregg Zaun was off the market, he was the best left. In terms of value to the Nationals, we now know the cost to get your team name engraved on a plaque in Cooperstown. Way down at the bottom but there none the less.
Here's two questions.
1) When the Rangers bid $7.5m/1 for Rich Hardin, why didn't the Nats pipe up immediately and say $8m? They are supposedly looking for starting pitching. Rich Hardin is potentially the best starter on the market. There is a chance he earns way more than $8m next season. No other starter left in free agency has a snowball's chance in hell of earning $8m next season.
And don't start with me about Jon Garland or Jason Marquis. Neither one could be a #1 starter and neither one would fetch a fat price in prospects at the trade deadline. Once again, the Nats fail to take a calculated risk looking for a big reward.
2) A top tier relief arm goes on the market. He's dealt for a guy who's been dealt twice in recent memory. Basically roster filler. So the prospect price is practically nil. This guy would immediately become your closer and be one of the better ones in the National League. So, why does Rafael Soriano go to the Rays and not the Nats? Maybe Atlanta didn't want to deal in the division. OK I can accept that. But did they even ask?
They are still playing rinky-dink small market baseball. That mentality is not going to work. Kansas City and Pittsburgh have tried and failed. This is a major media market and can support a much higher payroll team. They can also afford to take chances and make mistakes. If you are going to make a mistake, at least do it with something that has a chance of paying off big.