Aaron Nola has a new contract, and the Philadelphia Phillies have secured one the rising aces in baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies are clearly looking to make a final push to the postseason this year, with some significant trades and lingering in Bryce Harper rumors. On that note, they’ve reportedly agreed to a four-year, $45 million contract extension with pitcher Aaron Nola.
After a solid 2017 campaign (12-11, 3.54 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 2.6 BB.9), Nola took a big step last year. He went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA over 33 starts, while topping 200 innings for the first time (212.1) and posting a 9.5 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9.
He also finished third in the NL Cy Young voting, and led National pitchers in WAR (10.5, Baseball Reference version).
This was Nola’s first year or arbitration eligibility, so the Phillies have locked him in through those years and can cover two years of his free agency if they exercise a $16 million option for 2023.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan has the breakdown of Nola’s new deal.
That’s five years and a maximum of $56.75 million for Nola. He’ll be 26 in June, so that final option year (2023) will be his age-30 season. He could hit the market if the Phillies don’t pick up that option, or he’ll be set to hit the open market entering his age-31 campaign.
As Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, Nola seemed content to play things out year-to-year via arbitration just last month.
But the current state of MLB free agency, with big names lingering available into spring training each of the last two years, may start to push players to take long-term deals when they’re put on the table.
By the time Nola’s new deal is done that dynamic may change, but he’ll still be young enough to do well on the open market.
The Phillies seemed to see an opportunity to secure the services of one of the top young pitchers in baseball for multiple years, through what they hope will be a window to be competitive, and took it.
They’ve also secured some much-coveted cost certainty going forward, and Nola is surely happy with his new deal.