Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
Aaron Nola
PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola sat at a makeshift dais at the Pass and Stow inside Citizens Bank Park on Monday afternoon and smirked as he pulled out his chair. A few weeks earlier, the right-hander stood in the clubhouse after the NLCS nervously considering the prospects of free agency while pondering if his time in Philadelphia was over. 

As announced formally on Monday, the relationship will continue as the club and Nola agreed to terms on a seven-year deal worth $172 million. 

“I'm just grateful that we got this worked out and got it worked out early,” Nola said with a smile. 
The Phillies had competition in retaining Nola with multiple sources indicating Atlanta had offered more money while at least two other teams had offers on the table. Nola admitted he had several conversations over Zoom, but didn't visit another city.

“I’ve always been a Phillie. It’s the only place we kind of had our eyes set on,” Nola said. “It’s the most comfortable place for me.” 

Nola, 30, is the epitome of durability. He's made at least 32 starts and pitched at least 180 2/3 innings in five of the last six seasons — the exception coming in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He went 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA this past year, finishing with 202 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings. He then went 3-1 while posting a 2.35 ERA in four postseason starts. 

Among all National League starters in 2023, Nola ranked tied for fourth in starts, tied for fifth in innings pitched, sixth in opponents OBP (.283), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.49) & walk rate (5.7 %), seventh in WHIP (1.15) and tied for eighth in strikeouts. 

"It was most important that we kept him for ourselves, but I sure wouldn't have wanted him to go to Atlanta either," Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. "There were other clubs interested in him, too, a lot of them. I would not have looked forward to having a pitcher of his ilk face us." 

The Phillies and Nola discussed a contract extension before Spring Training, but the two sides were a sizeable distance apart. Nola decided he didn't want to have contract talks hanging over his head during the season, so shelved the conversation. It's believed the Phillies made a considerable increase in their offer to keep Nola in red pinstripes. 

“We have one of the best pitchers in baseball that really fits into our ballclub," Dombrowski said. “Sometimes you have to make compromises, you have to go to certain length. You weigh the dollars and length of contract, an individual that’s talented, tremendous pitcher, reliable, you know the makeup of the individual, extremely hard worker. “We want to win. We want to make it happen, and sometimes you have to compromise.” 

Since 2018, Nola has made the most starts of any pitcher in Major League Baseball (175). He will enter the 2024 season with 33.9 fWAR which ranks sixth among all pitchers in club history behind Curt Schilling (38.6), Cole Hamels (40.5), Grover Alexander (50.8), Robin Roberts (62.6) and Steve Carlton (75.0). 

Nola admitted he wasn't thinking about his legacy when signing the deal, but concedes the idea of staying with one team throughout his career is a significant accomplishment. 

“It's pretty special to do, especially in today's age in baseball,” Nola said.

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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis