In hindsight, knowing now that the Nationals had been at least strongly considering moving on from Elijah Dukes for weeks if not months, it raises questions about how the team approached the roster make-up this off-season. In particular, it's puzzling why the team never even made an effort to sign Johnny Damon, an underpaid near-all-star player who had no home at all less than a month ago.
After badly overplaying his hand in negotiations with the Yankees, Johnny Damon ended up without a team until late February. He eventually signed with Detroit for one year and $8 million. Damon gave the Yankees 6.8 wins above replacement over the last two seasons--not quite all-star level, but enough to make him the second or third best player on the Nationals. CHONE projects him to hit .268 / .350 / .425, and he's still an above average defender in left (assuming Willingham would move to right).
Damon's obviously a rental, and he'd get the team at best from maybe 74 wins to 76 wins. But it's not like the Nationals have payroll issues. They seem more than anxious to keep paying Adam Dunn even more money for lesser production. This is the kind of signing that the Nationals could make to get better in the near-term with no downside long-term.
It's certainly possible that Damon wouldn't have come to DC, but for the team to be sitting there in mid-February, knowing that there was a seriously high likelihood of starting the year with Justin Maxwell or Willie Harris starting in right, it's crazy that they wouldn't even make a run at a player of Damon's caliber.