The Phillies talked to Minnesota about obtaining Denard Span, but he ended up with the Nationals.
The Phillies got Ben Revere from the Twins. He's a fast man with no power who may be asked to cover all the ground between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Washington wanted to improve the back end of its starting rotation after losing Edwin Jackson to free agency, so general manager Mike Rizzo signed Dan Haren, a veteran righthander who has won at least 12 games eight straight seasons. The Phillies, after including Vance Worley in the trade for Revere, wanted a veteran starter, too. They settled on John Lannan, a lefty who didn't fit into the Nationals' rotation last season.
A righthanded hitting corner outfielder was on the to-do list right up until this week for the Phillies and the Braves. The Phillies signed free agent Delmon Young on Tuesday. They got him cheap because of his potential excess baggage. The Braves traded for Justin Upton on Thursday in a seven-player deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Justin is the better of the Upton brothers, and an outfield with the two Uptons and Jason Heyward has the potential to be scary good in terms of power, speed and defense.
"Well, I think they made their outfield better," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said inside the Sands Hotel and Casino, where the team's winter banquet tour stopped Thursday night. "I think it cost them a pretty good player in Mr. Prado. He's been kind of one of those Phillies nemeses."
Martin Prado is a good player, and until Thursday he was a pretty good choice to fill the gigantic shoes of the retired Chipper Jones. For the record, Prado is a career .303 hitter against the Phillies. His 11 home runs and 39 RBIs against Phillies pitching are more than he has against any other team. Chris Johnson is now expected to replace Jones, and that will be a weakness for the Braves.
Amaro said he talked to Arizona general manager Kevin Towers about the younger Upton.
"We talked to Arizona a couple of times," Amaro said. "We just didn't really see a fit. Clearly what he was looking for and what we were willing to give was a little different."
Amaro did not pretend that Young was an equal talent to Upton.
"Well, he's not defensively, that's pretty clear," Amaro said. "But he can be as productive. He has shown that he is able to do that. Will he do that for us? That remains to be seen, but he certainly has the ability to do it."
That's fair. Playing his home games in a much bigger ballpark than Upton last season, Young had more doubles, more home runs, and more RBIs than Upton in Arizona. Upton, however, is superior defensively and far more willing to take a walk, as evidenced by his career .357 on-base percentage. Young has a career .317 on-base percentage that dipped to .296 last season.
"We knew  was going to be a challenge regardless because [the Nationals and Braves] had really good clubs last year and they've done a really good job of improving their clubs," Amaro said. "We think we've improved ours as well."
They have in some ways. Michael Young, if healthy and able to catch the baseball, could be a terrific acquisition at third base. Mike Adams, if healthy, should be among the best setup men in baseball. But there are so many unknowns, including the health of the aging core.
It has been a different kind of offseason for the Phillies, and it's impossible to say that they caught the Nationals and Braves based on where the teams finished last season and what they've done this offseason.
"That's good if people think that," Amaro said. "I like to be an underdog. We were the favorites to win last year and we didn't do so well. Maybe the tides have turned."
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @brookob.