The Philadelphia Phillies and starting pitcher Aaron Nola have agreed to a seven-year, $172 million contract, a major-league source confirmed. USA Today and ESPN were first to report the news. Here’s what you need to know:
- Nola, 30, has spent his entire nine-year career with Philadelphia and became a free agent this offseason.
- He posted a 4.46 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 202 strikeouts through 193 2/3 innings last season.
- Nola will become the highest-paid pitcher in Phillies history once this contract is finalized.
Evaluating the deal
Plenty of labels have applied to Nola over the years in Philadelphia — homegrown ace, inconsistent in September, durable workhorse, solid No. 2, then big-game pitcher — but there is no debating this one now.
This contract is not a stunning development. Maybe this was the deal both sides should have done last February when they opened negotiations but stalled. Nola’s camp, according to multiple major-league sources, was seeking more than $200 million at the time. The Phillies, according to multiple major-league sources, were not willing to go beyond six years. The wide gap prompted Nola to try free agency.
And, in the end, they met in the middle. Nola received the seven-year deal he desired. The Phillies kept the average annual value in a reasonable ballpark.
Now, if Nola spends the duration of the contract with the Phillies, he will break Steve Carlton’s record tenure of 15 years. He will, at the very least, be second in franchise history to Carlton in strikeouts. He might trail only Carlton and Robin Roberts for all-time games started by a Phillies pitcher.
He has a chance to leave a legacy as one of the greatest pitchers the franchise has ever known.
That doesn’t preclude this contract from the standard risks. Nola turns 31 in June and he has started more games than any pitcher in baseball since 2018. His carrying trait is his durability and too many pitchers see their bodies fail them as they advance in age. The Phillies, with this commitment, believe Nola can age well.
They also understood the market and the club’s current situation. There was no one else who offered the current stability that Nola does. Signing any other top pitcher would have required surrendering draft capital and, perhaps, more money. Atlanta, the Phillies’ chief division rival, had legitimate interest in signing Nola.
So, here they are. The Phillies and Nola are linked again and forever. — Matt Gelb, Phillies senior writer
In his last five full seasons, Nola — a 2018 All-Star — has recorded at least 200 strikeouts as a staple of Philadelphia’s rotation.
The righty posted a 2.35 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 23 innings during the 2023 postseason as the Phillies fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series.
Nola has made 235 total starts with Philadelphia. The Phillies selected him with the No. 7 pick in the 2014 MLB Draft out of LSU, and he debuted with the team a year later.
(Photo: Eric Hartline / USA Today)