By Sam Bush

The Phillies open spring training in four days, and boss man Dave Dombrowski says:

“Quiet doesn’t mean inactive. We’ve been active on many different things as far as staying abreast of what’s going on.

“It’s been quiet. Our first big goal was to get a starting pitcher, with Aaron being a free agent. Of course, we were fortunate to re-sign him, which is a big signing for us. That really stabilized our starting rotation. … We have a good club. That’s apparent. There’s not gaping holes, and we’re also in an opportunity where giving an opportunity to some of our young players, which people are not usually very open-minded to or understanding, but we think if we’re going to be the organization we think we would like to be, we would like to give the young players an opportunity.”

The Phillies looked into Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto before he signed with the Dodgers.

“We were very involved in that,” Dombrowski said.

“I think people would be shocked if they found out how much money we put on the table for him. … But he wanted to go to the Dodgers. That was just the way it was.”

With Nola signed, the Phillies’ rotation is set. But Zack Wheeler, who will be 34 in May, is in the final year of his contract. Dombrowski reiterated on Wednesday that he wants Wheeler to remain a Phillie.

“We would love to sign Zack today if we could,” Dombrowski said.

“I think it’s important we re-sign him. I think he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball … I know Wheels loves it in Philadelphia.”

He also shared an update on top prospect Andrew Painter, who underwent Tommy John surgery in July.

“Painter’s rehab is going fine,” Dombrowski said. “He’s just tossing at this point, which is where he should be. I don’t really look for Andrew to pitch this year. I’m looking toward 2025. I guess you can always be surprised, but I don’t want to put that pressure on him.”

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