One of my (three? four? ninety million?) biggest gripes with members of the baseball online media (generally these are members of the sabermetric community, but not always) is the idea that teams can either :
(1) spend money to be better now, OR
(2) spend money to be better later.
Those are the choices and bad teams, like the Nationals were, are stupid to do (1) because they are only going to be slightly better and what's the difference between say 66 and 69 wins? They should always do (2) and flood the minors with money because that's where you can get more value and potentially create the base of a contender down the line.
Of course this theory is terribly, utterly, horribly flawed. It supposes that there is a set amount of funds that are to be spent on the baseball organization and every dollar spent on the major leagues is a dollar stolen from the minor leagues. This is what I like to call - the "money bucket" theory. There's only so many dollars that can fit in the bucket! You are paying Jason Marquis money! How dumb! You emptied the bucket! Now there's no money for the minor leagues!
Again - stupid, asinine, maybe irresponsible? It is all those things because baseball teams are expensive toys for rich men and they can spend money on the minor leagues AND the major leagues at the same time. This is in fact what the best teams in the league do and what every fan should be asking of their ownership. If you can't do this, or at least do this in some sort of cyclical fashion, then you shouldn't be owning a major league team. By saying that the Nats and other losing teams shouldn't bother spending money to get marginally better at the major league level, these media are implicitly validating every cheap-ass owner out there. "I'm just going for value!" In the end it's not about value. That's just a means to an end. It's about wins and getting them any way you can.
The Nats are going after those wins and proving these nay-sayers wrong. The Nats spent way too much money on Werth this off-season. They spent a ton on their draft picks this year. It can be done. It should be done. (well not that terrible of a contract to Werth but you get the point).