I get it but I don't get it, but then again I do get it.
What I get:
The Nats, by going after Bruney and Pudge and maybe Smoltz, are obviously trying to get better for next season. Not necessarily playoff better, but respectable better. Bruney can provide a decent "know-what-you-are-getting" bullpen arm. Smoltz and Pudge may have one decent year left in them of back of the rotation / back-up starts while providing the all important "veteran presence".
Yes the focus of the team still has to be on 2012 not 2010. But using young players with minimal promise or bottom of the barrell veterans to stabilize the team had gotten them nowhere. Management understands the fans are terribly frustrated about going 20-140 every year and they want to give them something to cheer about. As long as we don't see a "we can't afford to sign this draft pick" situation this season, this doesn't necessarily mean the Nats overall focus has changed.
What I don't get:
But why these guys? And why for these costs? Bruney for their first round Rule V draft pick? Pudge for 2 years, 6 million (and putting one more pick in the draft before the Nats)? Pudge is super old. Smoltz is four years older. He has born in the Lyndon Johnson administration! He was drinking under Reagan!
There had to have been other cheaper and/or better options out there for the team to accomplish these goals. More wins for less money is the hallmark of a smart team. These moves, they're not the move of a smart team. At least one that is smart about on the field performance.
What I do get finally:
But it's not about talent. Not really. Bruney is about secuirty. Rizzo could have found someone better/cheaper than Bruney, but Rizzo knows Bruney. He wanted someone he could be sure would be ok in the pen, and he's sure with Bruney. Smoltz and Pudge are about marketing. These two are name guys, likely Hall of Famers. People want to see them play even if they aren't at the top of their game (or in the middle of their game, or upper bottom of their game for that matter). Maybe Miguel Olivo or Shawn Estes could get you a couple more wins but who goes to the park to see Miguel Olivo or Shawn Estes?
These aren't moves made to maximize wins, but interest. And if the coverage is any indicator it is working. One way or another people are interested, even if it is "gawking at a car crash" interested.