Whenever one of the top MLB free agents signs with a National League team—particular a team that shares a division with the Miami Marlins—it’s worth discussing at Fish On First. Veteran right-hander Aaron Nola is remaining with the Philadelphia Phillies on a seven-year deal, the Phillies confirmed Sunday afternoon. It guarantees Nola $172 million, per multiple reports.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale was first to say that an agreement was reached, Jeff Passan of ESPN nailed down the guaranteed dollar amount and Jon Heyman of the New York Post added that there are no opt outs or options in the contract.
A homegrown Phillie, Nola broke through to the majors in 2015. He has pitched 150 ⅓ innings against the Marlins during that span, second only to Max Scherzer. That total includes his seven scoreless frames on October 4 in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series.
Nola receives a $24.6M average annual value despite a lifetime 113 ERA+ and a 102 ERA+ over the last three seasons (100 represents the league average). What stands out most about him is durability. He’s been practically injury-free throughout the last six seasons, exceeding 200 innings thrice. That is not totally predictive of how he’ll hold up in his 30s, but must have played a role in the length of the deal.
The frugal Marlins obviously were not in the mix to sign Nola, but the Atlanta Braves were, according to Passan. Heyman adds that Nola turned down more money from another suitor. It’s unclear whether he’s referring to the Braves, who ordinarily avoid long-term free agent commitments.
Compared to last offseason, the 2023-24 free agent market has been moving slowly. Hopefully Nola’s signing causes something of a domino effect, at least among the starting pitchers.
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