The Philadelphia Phillies and Aaron Nola have reportedly agreed on a new 7 year, $172M contract. Nola becomes tentatively the fourth highest paid starting pitcher in baseball by overall value and ninth highest paid by AAV. It is the largest contract the Phillies have ever given to a pitcher. Philadelphia will bring back bring back one of their best homegrown players and successfully retain their second major free agent to hit the open market in three years, with the other being J.T. Realmuto.
It was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today sports that talks between the Phillies and Aaron Nola had gained steam on Sunday morning. Shortly after, Nightengale was first to report that the two sides had reached an agreement.
The Phillies and Aaron Nola have now reached a tentative agreement on a 7-year contract worth $170-$175 million. Nola is undergoing a physical today before the deal becomes official. Talks between the Phillies and agent Joe Longo picked up steam the last two days.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 19, 2023
ESPN’s Jeff Passan was then first to report the official numbers on the contract.
Right-hander Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies are in agreement on a seven-year, $172 million contract, sources tell ESPN. The deal is pending a physical. But it is done, and Nola, who has spent his whole career in Philadelphia, will remain with the Phillies.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 19, 2023
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman added that there are no options or opt-outs in the deal.
There is no opt-out and no team option in the deal https://t.co/hMWzD7TEMV— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 19, 2023
In 9 seasons with the Phillies, the 30-year-old Aaron Nola is 90-71 with an ERA of 3.72 in 235 starts. Among Phillies franchise records, Nola places fifth in strikeouts (1,582), seventh in starts (235), 17th in innings pitched (1,422), and 14th in wins (90). Nola leads all of MLB in games started since 2018 (175) and ranks second behind Gerritt Cole in innings pitched (1,065.1). He has a 3.65 ERA over that span.
That durability was Nola’s best-selling point, as his 2023 season was a disappointment. He finished with the second worst full season ERA of his career at 4.46 and worst HR/9 of 1.5. He seemed to struggle adjusting to the pitch clock, as his splits with nobody on (.651 opponent’s OPS) and the bases occupied (.815 OPS) would indicate.
Nola seemed to correct his issues in his first two starts of the postseason, as he went a combined 12,2 IP against the Marlins and Braves at home and allowed just two total runs with 9 total hits, two walks, and 12 strikeouts as the Phillies won both games. Nola then made two starts against the Diamondbacks, throwing six shutout innings in a 10-0 win in Game 2 and allowing 4 runs in 4.1 IP in a Game 6 loss.
His ups and downs are well documented, but the Phillies could not afford to end the offseason without either Nola or someone of similar caliber slotted in behind Zack Wheeler as their number two starting pitcher. Getting Nola for under $200M seems like a good deal for the Phillies, as the cost for starting pitching has increased dramatically in recent years and is likely to continue to do so this offseason. Nola was widely considered the second-best pitcher on the market behind 25-year-old NPB star Yoshinobu Yamamoto.