We know that Rizzo seems determined to add some free agent starters for 2010. We also know that most of those free agent starters aren't exactly the kind of pitchers you want to commit to for a few seasons or build a rotation around if you're trying to be competitive.
The worthwhile starters are going to be overpriced (John Lackey), have options for 2010 (Tim Hudson), or are little more than blogger pipe dreams (Aroldis Chapman). The Nats appear to be looking for back of the rotation types, of which Jon Garland or Randy Wolf are probably the best options (and Livan is probably the worst).
While there's a great deal of value in the league-average starter or the innings eater, I'd rather see the Nats' primary focus on someone else this offseason.
Rizzo and Webb have a history together, and Webb is pretty much Rizzo's ideal pitcher. Even if Webb looks healthy enough that an incentive-laden contract isn't an option, signing Webb is the kind of risk the Nats need to take. Let's say Detwiler and one of Martin/Stammen/Mock work out -- the Nats would still be starved for quality pitching. Coming off an injury, Webb probably won't command AJ Burnett money, but considering how valuable he's been in the past, it's safe to say Webb won't come cheap.
But Rizzo shouldn't stop at Webb -- he should also pursue Ben Sheets. The rehabbing Sheets has been completely off the radar this season, but early indications are that he will be able to pitch in 2010. This is where Rizzo should drive a hard bargain in offering the effective-when-healthy Sheets a contract loaded up with incentives.
Where would signing Webb and Sheets leave the rotation? The best-case scenario would be a 2010 mid-season rotation of Webb, Strasburg, Sheets, Lannan, #5. That fifth starter could be Detwiler or it could be someone like Wolf or Garland. Assuming Zimmermann comes back healthy in 2011, you might be looking at the best rotation in the NL East. Although I doubt Rizzo will go after Sheets, a potential 2011 rotation of Webb, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan, #5 would still be formidable.
If Webb is indeed available, it would be irresponsible of Rizzo not to kick the tires on putting him in a Nationals jersey.