After nine seasons in Philadelphia, making him the longest-actively-tenured Phillie, and multiple rumors he may be on his way out, Aaron Nola is staying put.
The Phillies called him their top priority this offseason and got the deal done, agreeing to a seven-year contract worth $172 million, including no opt-outs and no team options. It comes with a $24.6 million AAV, which falls short of what was mostly expected of Nola’s deal this offseason. The deal is pending a physical and is yet to be formally announced
Nola’s contract beats out the previous high for a Phillies pitcher, Cole Hamels‘ six-year, $144 million deal signed in 2012.
As one of the three most attractive and accomplished starters in the free-agent market, Nola seduced lots of attention and was considered to have many contenders pursue him. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Nola did meet with other teams and turned down more money to stay in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Atlanta Braves were after Nola. They were a threat and it would have been brutal for the organization and the fans if he switched sides to the division rival. The St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Yankees were in on him too. Now, he is under contract with the Phillies through his age-37 season, 2031.
The Phillies had other targets to fill the starting pitching need this offseason. Yoshinobu Yamamoto led the list with Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, and others. It felt like all those targets were backup plans if Nola became inaccessible. For the Phillies, it was always Nola, and for Nola, it was always the Phillies.
The Phils drafted Nola seventh overall in 2014, and he exceeded expectations the moment he stepped on the mound. He showed his abilities were more than just an “innings eater” and he has become an ace over the last nine seasons, placing third, fourth, and seventh in Cy Young voting since 2018. And for the second straight year, he stepped up huge in late September and early October to put the Phillies in position to win it all. They fell two wins short in 2022 and five wins short in 2023, with Nola losing Game 6 of the NLCS at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Nola was far from the reason they lost the series. He got them so deep into October again, allowing just two runs in 15 2/3 innings in the wild-card round, NLDS, and Game 2 of the NLCS.