No Lee for the Nats as Peter Angelos remembered he hadn't screwed with the franchise in a few months. Derek signs with the Orioles.
For those keeping score at home this means after the surprise huge-in-a-couple-ways Werth signing the Nats struck out on getting guys they really wanted Carlos Pena, Brandon Webb, Zack Grienke, and Derek Lee. They also missed on less than 100% runs at Javy Vazquez and Cliff Lee (technically true! You can't deny it!).
Who could have known the big splash the Nats made at the beginning of the hot stove was the sound of the team jumping off a bridge?
Now the team is resigned to bringing in Adam "The Rock" LaRoche on a 2-year deal. That's fine. It fills a hole that needs filling. It doesn't make any long term commitments so if everything goes perfectly and the Nats are ready to compete in a year or two, they can still make a big time deal for someone knowing Adam is (or will be soon) coming off the books. I'm not enthused about LaRoche himself. I'll go into more detail if he signs, but I think the step back during a healthy year at his age is a bad sign. Still I think he'll be average over the two years so... whatever.
What the Lee signing really means is that any hopes for a suprise 2011 is gone. Oh they could make a shocking run to 78 wins or something but I can't see a way they would meaningfully be in a playoff race. Hopefully Rizzo will see this and accept it.
What does that mean? Back off Pavano. Sure he fills a hole but he's expensive, old, and has a history of injury. You sign him if you feel good about 2011 or 2012, and that shouldn't describe the Nats now. Instead see what late 20s early 30s year old pitcher you can wrangle in late January for a cheap guaranteed 2011 deal and an team option for fair-if-average 2012. Maybe Chris Young, maybe Brad Penny, Maybe Jeff Francis (though I see him signing for more). If you can't do that - run with what you got. No Millwoods or Daviseses unless you are looking at an extremely cheap one-year deal.
It also means if the LaRoche deal falls through you don't sign anyone to start at first. If you want to bring Kotchman in fine, as a spot-starter and defensive replacement. But Casey and pretty much everyone else left does nothing for the mythical 2013 Nats so there is no reason to bother signing them. Put out the guys you got, cross your fingers, and hope for a surprise year that can help you lure another piece for 2012 where if the Nats are lucky, Strasburg, Harper, and this signing all combine to give the Nats a true jump in talent.