The Nats' quiet but steady pursuit of some manager who can actually guide them to a season of fewer than 100 losses seems to be drawing to a close.
There's little doubt that Bobby V is the better manager. He's got a better track record; he understands talent; he's resourceful; he's full of energy. In short, he's the Anti-Acta.
But could he stomach the losing? There's going to be at least another year before this team can even pretend to contend. The more optimistic (some would say delusional) think they could be on the fringes of contention in two seasons.
So is having a win-now manager such as Bobby V the smart move?
Would the team be better off with another caretaker, a sad-sack sort like Jim Riggleman? He could do the small things, building and helping to develop in the next year or two before being cast aside for a real brand-name manager to push them over the top.
With a GM who doesn't crave the limelight, having a strong, dominant personality, like Valentine, on the field could suck some of the attention away from what's going on behind the scenes. Jim Bowden wouldn't have liked that, but Mike Rizzo certainly seems like the sort who'd appreciate the space.
The more attention Valentine takes, the more Rizzo and his remade front office can roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work behind the scenes.
We'll find out which one wins out soon enough.