A little clarification, a "C" isn't a C as in "fair". It's more as in "exactly how things should be done". A straight C would be a deal that was market value for someone with some impact on the major league team. An offseason with nothing but C deals would be perfectly fine. (though boring and not very impactful)
Tyler Walker (1 years - 650K)
Decision : C+ : Tyler didn't have a great ERA and was a bit injury prone but for the past 4 years he's had good peripheral stats. Odds were in favor of a decent half-season from this guy.
Result : B- : And a decent half-season was what they got. He's a non-critical reliever so like Peralta there's only so much "goodness" to come from the deal. But trust me - for a reliever a B- is great in my mind.
Miguel Batista (minor league deal)
Decision : C : It's really hard for me to argue for lower than a C for a minor league deal. Was Batista old and not very good? Sure. But if he didn't work out - whatever.
Results : C : No big win here but he did make the team and stick with them. He's been ok and that one spot start worked out didn't it?
Adam Kennedy (1 yr - 2.25 million - well that's what they are going to pay + buyout)
Decision : C+ : It was a secondary deal when the Nats couldn't bring themselves to spend money on the surer bet - Orlando Hudson. As a last resort, Kennedy was worth a one year toss-off deal based on a very decent 2009, even though it was likely a fluke.
Results : D (but rising) : As a part-timer he couldn't generate enough offense to challenge Guzman. He's gotten better with more playing time but it's not enough to change the fact he's been a disappointment.
Willy Taveras (Minor League Contract)
Decision : D- : Remember when I said that I had a hard time giving out a bad grade to a minor league deal? The exception is when a guy is proven not to be major league caliber and is past the age of being worthy of taking a shot on, so really he's just taking up at bats from someone who might be worth something to the team. That last sentence might as well be Willy Taveras' nickname.
Results : F : Worth less than Bruney, even got caught stealing 2 out of 3 times. (Did you know he's been signed 3 times after the Nats let him go? Really what did the Rangers think they knew that the Nats... and Phillies... and Braves didn't?)
Chien-Ming Wang (1yr - 2 million)
Decision : B- : Here's one that could have totally worked out. Yes Wang was injured and coming off some terrible pitching, but the Nats were trying (in theory anyway) to build up a good defense that would work well with a ground ball pitcher. Plus I always like guys moving from the AL to the NL.
Results : C- : This is a temporary grade based on the slowness of his recovery. Really, it'll come down to how well he pitches the next few weeks and whether the Nats see enough to offer him arbitration.
Livan Hernandez (minor league deal)
Decision : B- : Sure it was a minor league deal, but unlike a Batista or Perlata the ceiling with Livan was greater: 4th or 5th starter giving you 200+ innings of average ball for no cost. Would have been higher if Livan didn't stink the past few years. Then again that's the reason he only could get a minor league deal.
Results : A : Has alot of it been luck? Maybe. But he's had one of the 15 best 2010 of a NL starter so far. I'm not sure he'll keep it up but even a crash drops it down to what? A B+?
In the end I think free agency worked out for the Nats. The front office didn't make a bunch of smart moves, but it didn't make a bunch of terrible ones either. It got one high profile failure, but the other poor results didn't end up mattering at all. On the flip side two of the moves turned into pure gold. All in all I'd say it was a rather typical mlb offseason, and for a team dying to be average I guess that's a good thing.