CLEARWATER, Fla. — It was always going to be a bull rush.

The Phillies had a lot to do and little time. So when Major League Baseball let the players back in and unfroze rosters after a 99-day lockout, Dave Dombrowski put his people to work. They arrived early and stayed late. They got dinner delivered to their second-floor offices here. They split up the calls to players, agents, and teams. They didn’t sleep much.

» READ MORE: Nick Castellanos hopes to experience with Phillies what has been missing in his career: Winning

But for as busy as they were, this blitz — a five-player, $192.75 million haul in a span of eight days — was, well, extreme. It was made possible by two things: the arrival of the designated hitter to the National League and ownership’s willingness to incur a luxury-tax bill for the first time in team history.

And now that the Phillies have sprung for two late-inning relievers (Jeurys Familia and Brad Hand), a part-time center fielder (Odúbel Herrera), and a pair of mashers who specialize in winning (Kyle Schwarber) and attitude (Nick Castellanos), it falls to manager Joe Girardi to sort through all the pieces.

In two weeks.

No rush.

Opening day is set for April 8 at Citizens Bank Park against whatever is left of the everything-must-go Oakland Athletics. Here are five burning questions that must be answered by then:

How will the lineup fit together?

More than a few wiseguys, to say nothing of opposing scouts, have considered the Phillies defense and cracked that they have at least five DHs.

Girardi is counting on it.

Castellanos and Schwarber figure to take most of the DH at-bats. But there will be times when Schwarber goes to first base and Rhys Hoskins is the DH. Or Castellanos slides to right field and Bryce Harper is the DH. J.T. Realmuto will cycle through the DH spot, too.

» READ MORE: MRI shows Odúbel Herrera has mild strain in right oblique; likely out 4-6 weeks

The Phillies won’t be a good defensive team, but they do have versatility that Girardi intends to maximize through his use of the DH.

“Whatever the team needs,” Castellanos said at his introductory news conference. “I have a Phillie hat on. I don’t know how good of a pitcher I’ll be, but ...”

OK, so there will be limits to Girardi’s creativity.

What about the left side of the infield?

Of the 188 players with at least 400 plate appearances last year, Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm tied for 174th and 178th, respectively, in Fangraphs’ wins above replacement.

So, yes, it’s premature to say for sure that they will be back at shortstop and third base on opening day.

Bohm’s status, in particular, is “not etched in stone,” to use Girardi’s words. He has minor-league options, and the Phillies want him to earn his way back to the roster. Girardi has talked up switch-hitting Johan Camargo, who once upon a time played third base every day for the Braves.

» READ MORE: Phillies' Joe Girardi: Third base 'not etched in stone' for Alec Bohm

The Phillies couldn’t be more bullish on Bryson Stott, who may still force his way onto the opening-day roster. But Stott, a 24-year-old shortstop prospect, may also benefit from another month or two at triple A to finish his development, while Gregorius seeks to earn redemption from an injury-marred 2021 season and Bohm tries to recapture his initial major-league success.

Regardless, Stott’s arrival is almost certainly as close as the first sign of adversity, either as Gregorius’ replacement or with Gregorius sliding over to third if Bohm struggles.

Who’s in center field?

Team officials would love it if Matt Vierling is the everyday answer after the former fifth-round pick impressed with his offense and versatility last season. But with a total of 71 major-league at-bats to his name, they weren’t ready to go there yet.

Alas, they may not have a choice.

Herrera, brought back to be the left-handed side of a platoon, hasn’t played a spring training game because of a muscle strain in his right side and could miss four to six weeks, according to Girardi. Lefty-hitting Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak are back on the radar now as a candidates to split time with Vierling. Haseley was the opening-day center fielder last year but left the team in April for personal reasons and struggled in the minors.

» READ MORE: The Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber has always been a winner. His former teammates explain how he does it.

One player who isn’t in the center-field mix: Harper, who has played center in the past but likely won’t any longer to avoid undue stress on his lower back.

“I really believe that Vierling had a chance to take this and run with this,” Girardi said. “So he’s going to get a chance.”

Will Zack Wheeler be ready?

There’s no bigger question facing the Phillies.

Wheeler is trending favorably despite being slowed by right shoulder soreness in December and the flu last week. He threw 42 pitches from a bullpen mound Wednesday and is scheduled to face hitters in live batting practice Saturday. He could start a spring training game next week.

It isn’t out of the question, then, that the ace could take a turn in the rotation the first week of the season.

» READ MORE: Schwarber agreed to deal with Phillies. An hour later his wife went into labor on 'the best day of my life.’

But the Phillies probably won’t let Wheeler throw more than four or five innings the first few times out, especially because rosters are expected to expand from 26 players to 28 through May 1. It would enable them to carry two extra pitchers — likely from among Bailey Falter, Nick Nelson, and Cristopher Sánchez — to pitch multiple innings behind Wheeler and Ranger Suárez, delayed at the start of camp while he obtained his work visa.

Are more moves coming?

After the Phillies signed Schwarber to a four-year, $79 million contract last week, most industry observers believed they had done their heaviest lifting. But then Dombrowski met with ownership.

“Every day John Middleton walks into my office and says, ‘How can we get better? What else can we do?’” Dombrowski said, echoing stories told on other occasions by team officials. “And I thought, [Castellanos’] bat sure would look nice in the middle of our lineup.”

Two days later, the Phillies signed Castellanos to a five-year, $100 million deal, pushing the payroll beyond the luxury-tax threshold.

» READ MORE: ‘Stupid Money’ Phillies owner John Middleton gets smart and lives up to his word. Finally. | Marcus Hayes

The point is, nothing can be ruled out anymore.

With about $10 million to go before they reach the second tax threshold ($250 million), the Phillies could pursue a center-field upgrade. Or a bench bat. Or depth for the rotation.

“We’ve interacted with other clubs,” Dombrowski said. “They’ve now made their free-agent signings, almost all of them, and I think it will lead to continued trade conversations as we go over the next time period. Will it lead to something? I don’t know. But sure, we’ll look to get better.”