The Nationals are a team in-between. On one hand, the team vastly exceeded expectations last season en route to a 71 win season, putting them ahead of pace in many people's minds. On the other hand, they are still very much a rebuilding team and have many areas to address before they are competitive again.
If you ask Nationals fans, I do not think many would be surprised at the team's quiet offseason to this point. Between the recent historical trends of cutting costs and the Lerner Ownership group actively attempting to sell the franchise to no avail and subsequently being checked out mentally in the process, it is almost logical that the Nationals are not making big splashes.
Nevertheless, it is not like the Nationals are incapable of spending or should not spend. One recent example would be the Kansas City Royals offseason this year, engaging in the mid-tier pitching market to revitalize their team without committing a significant amount of money long term. The Nationals would be wise to do the same in an effort to replicate the results of the Jeimer Candelario signing, who excelled in his half season in DC prior to being traded in exchange for more controllable assets, one of which looks to be an viable arm for the near future in DJ Herz.
While we are nearing the middle of January, there are still plenty of Free Agents available who could boost the Nationals into the next tier towards contention. Here are the rankings for the areas of need: