The Estes signing only looks bad in lieu of everything that went down this weak. A failure to get the best player when he was available at a reasonable price, has led people to the realization that not as much changed about the Nats as they might have thought. The signing of a throw away, let's see what he can do, veteran is now not just a whatever signing that every team makes a handful of every year, but a symbol of the same ol' Nats.
Are they the same ol' Nats? Sort of. In Vol 2, Issue 1 of "the Plan", they did spend money to fix the bullpen, and to add one of two much needed starters. But they balked at going slightly over budget on a second baseman, and appear likely to do the same for that last starter spot. They still really should grab another starter, because right now they are leaning heavily on Craig Stammen to be good, and whoever else fills the rotation not to suck. The pressure will be on an early arrival for Strasburg and consider me part of the "better late" crowd. What it looks like they are doing, with Estes and Batista, is trying to find a Redding like innings eater for a minor league deal. I can find them one right now for probably around 2 million in Braden Looper, but the Nats are at this point being penny wise.
The new Nats are not afraid to spend money, but only on things deemed "mission critical". They HAD to fix the pen, HAD to get a starter. (really they did) For anything else, it's the same bargain hunting philosophy they had before. That's not an issue for a 70+ win team but it is for a 80+ win team. We'll have to see what the Nats do in Issue #2 before the little birdies can start singing again.