One Worst Case : The Nats go hard after Cliff Lee. While consumed with that, Garza is dealt, Grienke is officially pulled off the table and Vazquez is signed. When Lee goes elsewhere, the Nats find their options limited. Rizzo however, can't get past the "true #1" he promised the Nats would go after so he deals Desmond plus some junk to the Braves for Derek Lowe. To cover his bases, Rizzo also tosses a Sheets like deal to Webb. Having just added 20-25 million to the payroll, the Nats can't make any serious moves offensively. They let Dunn walk. Both Pena and Lee price out of what the Nats can offer. The Nats throw up their hands and sign Lyle Overbay to cheaply man first, ostensibly because of his defense. They make no other moves, and start pumping up Roger Bernadina as best they can as a full time right fielder.
Sort-of Expected: The Nats go hard after Cliff Lee, but he goes elsewhere. They try to deal for Garza but get outbid by a more desperate team. They try to deal for Grienke but with no real impetus to get a deal done this year, the Royals asking price is too high for every team. Seeing the pitching options close up, the Nats grab Javy Vazquez on an cheap 1-year deal, and thanks to Rizzo's personal connections are able do the same with Brandon Webb. With money now "free" the Nats push hard after Jayson Werth instead and are able to sign the free agent. Rizzo fritters around the edges but is unable to make any other deals of significance.
One Best Case: The Nats go hard after Cliff Lee. They drastically overpay, and they shock the world by getting him. It's also thought that Lee liked going back to the National League and being able to stick it to the Phillies. With all the money spent, the Nats wait out the free agent market and work the trade market. They are able, surprisingly, to grab Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, giving up not too much, when the "right-place right-time" opportunity presents itself while Rizzo is fishing for James Loney. Carlos Pena watches as his demands and a saturated market full of "ok" FA firstbasemen combine to make him one of the last men standing. The Nats are able to sign him to a cheap incentive laden deal. They end free agency snatching up Brandon Webb, who also didn't find the deal he was looking for, in part thanks to Ben Sheets being unable to justify his big "trust me" contract in 2010.