HomeTrending MLB NewsIn the First Big Signing of the Offseason, the Phillies Bring Back...

In the First Big Signing of the Offseason, the Phillies Bring Back Aaron Nola

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Joe Rondone/The Republic/USA TODAY NETWORK

Philly baseball fans didn’t even have to wait until the turkeys were in the oven for the first major Phillies news of the offseason, as Bob Nightengale and Jeff Passan reported Sunday that the team has brought back Aaron Nola on a seven year, $172 million contract that will keep their no. 2 starter in town until the end of the 2030 season.

The Phillies have enjoyed significant postseason success recently, with a trip to the World Series in 2022 and an NLCS run that almost resulted in a return to the Fall Classic this year. That being said, getting to the playoffs via a Wild Card spot is always going to be a more uncertain path than winning the division, and in each of the last two seasons, the Phils finished well behind the division leader. For a team with an aging core that’s in win-now mode, the goal is to do better, and it would be hard — and expensive — to improve the team from 2023 without keeping Nola in the fold. Nola, the team’s first-round pick back in 2014, won’t come cheaply at $172 million. From a pure value standpoint, ZiPS isn’t overly excited about that figure:

ZiPS Projection – Aaron Nola

YearWLERAFIPGGSIPHERHRBBSOERA+WAR
20241283.843.373030180.31647722361951133.4
20251094.003.502828168.71577521341781093.0
2026994.223.702626158.01527421331611032.4
2027894.443.912626148.0149732132146982.0
2028884.754.162424142.0148752232135921.5
2029695.074.472121124.3137702131114860.9
2030585.374.681818107.312264192896810.5

But if any team is justified in paying more than the projection suggests for Nola, it’s the Phillies, given that they’re a wealthy team smack dab in the win range where additional wins are the most valuable.

This projection is a big step down from Nola’s forecast before last season, when ZiPS would have suggested a seven-year, $158 million extension, significantly closer to his actual contract figure. Problem is, Nola did have a relative down season, well off his 2020-22 averages, and that makes him riskier when considering a big deal. While Nola will probably allow fewer home runs in 2024, batters did hit him more successfully than in 2022. With his exit velocity and hard-hit numbers going up a bit, it isn’t all simple home run volatility at play. Losing 20-25% of your strikeout rate is a worrying sign for an older pitcher as well. That being said, it’s a still a reasonable start to the offseason for the Phillies, who hopefully won’t be content to just keep the current team intact.

My colleague Ben Clemens will be back tomorrow with more on the Nola signing.

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