I suppose the biggest news not covered is that the Nats reached contracts with all their arbitration eligible players. The Nats seemingly HATE arbitration. While that may be overblown it doesn't help the Nats management that the first guy to take them to arbitration (John Lannan) was summarily demoted and the second guy (Jerry Blevins) was given the boot in favor of Matt denDekker and a depleted pen. (No on said the Nats were sensible about it). Luckily no worries for this year and everyone has signed their fair contracts offered.
With those in place the payroll is more in focus, the Nats currently sitting at 145 million. Basically the halfway point between those hoping the Nats would keep it up near 160 and those fearing the Nats would drop it down to 130. Of course the off-season isn't over yet. The Nats have been rumored partners in trade or as a team interested in an FA OF. This makes sense if they are willing to give up on MAT, shifting Revere to be a fantastic 4th OF. Papelbon (11M) is still on the roster out of necessity, as is the the hinted guy they would potentially trade to replace, Wilson Ramos. Remember, we've talked about it a couple times but the catcher situation sets the Nats up having to go into next off-season looking for a catcher in FA or trade. The Nats don't usually play the game that way so a trade for a catcher still might be in the cards.
What do I think? (and since I nailed the Storen deal timing I must have some super powers) I think the Nats are pretty much done. I think they sit on everyone and try to get a rehabbing pitcher (Lincecum, Josh Johnson) for peanuts to stick in AAA for depth and potential. That's pretty much it. I don't think they bother for an OF now. The free agents are going to be too expensive or will lack game-changing ability. I can't see the Nats spending a bunch, even just for a year, to get slightly better. Trades won't happen unless a team doesn't ask for much in return. The Nats are very much like a fan when it comes to their prospects (I think it's a combo of Lerner loving the long-term cheap investment aspect and Rizzo over-trusting his own judgments). Deals have to be pretty damn good for them to give up a minor leaguer that they even remotely care about. Other teams are more reasonable (though these numbers are dwindling) and will end up with the Cargos of the world. I don't think they deal Papelbon because teams are only going to pay 80 cents on the dollar for him and Rizzo wants a fair trade based on talent.
But we'll see. As I keep saying - plenty of time left. Things happen.
Side note here on Ian Desmond. Yes, he made the wrong decision not taking the Nats extension. But that's a total hindsight thing. At the time he was poised to make a lot more and it took a season where he was batting .214 / .261 with 11 homers a week into August to kill that. There was nothing telling anyone he'd suddenly become the worst offensive SS in the league for 75% of 2015. If there was, forget the extension, the Nats would have probably traded him rather than have him drag the team down. No one saw it coming, but it came and here we are.
Where does he end up now? Tampa is an interesting place. If he was willing to take less money he could find himself situated very close to where he lives full-time (Sarasota) something that has to have great appeal. And the only guy standing in his way is the "He's really good!...
Padres - signed Alexi Ramirez because I assume they don't care about winning.
Baltimore - locked into JJ Hardy unfortunately for them
White Sox - waiting on Tim Anderson, probably for 2017, don't want a long term FA blocking him
Brewers - tanking with a new GM
Dodgers - Corey Seager taking over
Rangers - locked into Elvis Andrus worse than Baltimore is locked into Hardy
Pirates - ummm oddly secure sticking with Jordy Mercer for some reason. Good luck with that
Reds - tanking
Cubs - traded erratic Castro, Russell taking over.
Indians - Lindor taking over
Mariners - Ketel Marte taking over
Angels - traded for Andrelton Simmons
Mets - signed Asdrubal
Phillies - tanking
and a couple other trade/FA created issues
Rays - fine in 2015 but let Asdrubal walk, see above
Rockies - fine in 2015 but traded Tulo, have Reyes now but he could be in legal trouble
Braves - fine in 2015 but traded Simmons, tanking
At this point it becomes more of a coin flip whether Ian, staying as he was - bad hitting with power, decent D, would be helpful. These unnamed teams signing him would be really expecting that he would get better.
Fully half the league could have used Ian. But four tanking teams and five rookies coming up this year (or next) really cut down the demand pool. Ian went from 14 potential suitors (taking out locked ins and Colorado which didn't start FA needing a SS) to 5. At that point you can be boxed out and Ian was by a couple trades (Miller, Simmons), a commitment to bad player (Mercer), and a FA on the market who would be much cheaper and not much worse (Cabrera). At that point it comes down to one team either deciding to pay you or not. The Padres didn't. (The lost draft pick here isn't helping now that "winning the prospect lotto" is a praised rebuilding strategy) Now Ian is left hoping that either Reyes can't play most of the season (and the Rockies care about winning enough to sign Ian) or the Rays are willing to give him something fair while being able to see Miller is nothing but a bench player. Or else we're looking at a one-year challenge deal somewhere, at a good deal less than his qualifying offer.