While the Mets have had a very good offseason, a nightmare scenario for them in the NL East could be getting closer to becoming a reality.
After emerging from their meeting with free agent OF Bryce Harper on Saturday, the Phillies "remain optimistic" that they will snag either Harper or free agent SS/3B Manny Machado, reports Matt Breen of Philly.com.
According to Breen, the Phillies seem to prefer Machado. And if the Phillies land Machado, that would theoretically increase the odds that Harper returns to the Nationals -- who have reportedly again emerged as a strong suitor for him. Harper is also drawing interest from the White Sox.
The White Sox are also pursuing Machado, along with the Yankees -- though the Yanks are on the periphery at the moment, at best.
While Breen says the Phillies prefer Machado, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported later Sunday that the Phils are the "clear-cut favorite" to sign Harper.
Elsewhere in the NL East, the Braves have interest in signing free agent OF A.J. Pollock, who Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen spoke highly of earlier this offseason.
FanGraphs currently has the Nationals projected to win 92 games this coming season, with the Mets at 85 (which would be good enough for the second Wild Card spot). The Braves are projected to win 82 games, with the Phillies projected to win 80.
If the Nats add Harper, the expected wins gap between the Mets and Nats will grow. If the Phillies add Machado or Harper, they could creep right up toward the 85 wins the Mets are currently projected for.
The Mets could also be facing the prospect of the Braves landing Pollock -- a player who would fit the Mets (who are in dire need of a center fielder) like a glove and someone they should still be strongly considering signing.