Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski

With a lengthy shopping list and a farm-system void of significant trade bait, this offseason was already going to be challenging for the Phillies. Things became more difficult on Monday as the Mets agreed to terms on a three-year deal with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. 

Oh yeah, in case you missed it, the Mets also added outfielders Starling Marte and Mark Canha, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar all within the last week. Combined, the Mets have spent near $255 million in guaranteed contracts. 

Paging Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. 

The free-agent market is bizarro-world right now, primarily because of the unknowns surrounding the potential lockout that could impact baseball as early as Wednesday night. If a lockout occurs, transactions will freeze. From there, we'll enter into an unknown financial world where there's no telling how contracts and payrolls will look. 

The Phillies have shown interest in outfielders Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, and Nick Castellanos. Kris Bryant and Chris Taylor are also potential targets. 

The club also is in the market for a veteran arm to potentially close out games, especially now that Hector Neris has signed with Houston. Craig Kimbrel is a name that's gained traction as a trade target with the White Sox. 

This all isn't to say Dombrowski and Co. haven't been active. 

The Phillies acquired catcher Donny Sands and right-hander Nick Nelson from the Yankees earlier this month and then made a deal with Houston to acquire catcher Garrett Stubbs. The club has also been active on the waiver wire, claiming righty Yoan Lopez and left-handers Kent Emanuel, Ryan Sherriff, and Scott Moss. 

Minor upgrades to the 40-man roster won't be enough though, especially with two divisional rivals in the Braves and Mets dominating the headlines. 

Whatever big move happens (or doesn't), Dombrowski isn't in a position to miss, not with reigning MVP Bryce Harper and Cy Young finalist Zack Wheeler starring on the roster. 

It's acceptable to be patient. It's good to remain calculated. It's another thing entirely for fans to have faith that the organization is doing everything possible to put a World Series contending team on the diamond come April. 

It's an unenviable position, but this is the reality for the Phillies. The Mets have landed some major blows early, now let's see how the Phils counter. 

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