Phillies starter Aaron Nola will go into the off-season as one of the top available free agent pitchers, but Philadelphia’s expected to make a strong push to re-sign him, according to a report from the New York Post’s Jon Heyman.
It’s reported that the Phillies had at least some discussion with Nola this past winter about an extension, but their offer – which came in north of $100MM but south of the $162MM Carlos Rodon received from the Yankees – clearly didn’t get the job done. Heyman adds that Nola prefers a return to Philadelphia, and while 29 other teams could make a run at him in the winter, the Phillies will likely try again to keep him in town.
Nola’s off to a slower start than usual this year, working to a 4.64 ERA through his first seven starts, but has been one of the game’s most durable pitchers in recent seasons. He’s made more than 30 starts in every full season going back to 2018, and has compiled a very healthy 3.47 ERA in that time with above average walk and strikeout rates. As for this season, seven starts is not an insignificant sample size, and a slight drop in velocity in his fastball has seen his strikeout rate dip to just 19.2%, the lowest rate of his career.
As Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted about a week ago, Nola is a slow worker and the pitch clock change has been a tough adjustment for him. In any case, it’s certainly too early to write off Nola based on seven starts and it’s worth noting that the bulk of the damage was done in his first three starts, and he’s averaging almost seven innings per start with a 3.29 ERA since then.
While there’s still a full season to play out, Nola’s track record should stand him in good stead to do well in free agency. While he may not possess the dominant stuff Rodon displayed in the past two seasons, his durability is far superior and as we see so often, that is a huge value add for starting pitchers. With that in mind, it’s unsurprising Nola seemingly wasn’t interested in a deal below Rodon’s $162MM.
Here’s some more notes from around the NL East:
- Sticking with the Phillies to begin with, and they’ll move Matt Strahm back to the bullpen with Ranger Suarez expected to return to the rotation shortly, per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Strahm’s given the Phillies some solid value out of the rotation, making six starts and working to a 3.51 ERA – including three scoreless starts. That’s been hugely helpful to a Phillies rotation that’s been slow out of the gates, with Nola and Zack Wheeler sporting ERAs above four and off-season recruit Taijuan Walker sitting at 6.91. The return of Suarez from an elbow injury will be a welcome addition, particularly if he can continue the excellent work he put in last season, where he worked to a 3.65 ERA across 29 starts. The Phillies have made a slow start to the season, sitting 15-18 entering play Saturday and seven games adrift of the Braves in first place, so the return of players like Suarez and Bryce Harper will be critical to getting them back in the race for one of baseball’s more competitive divisions.
- The Mets are one more team off to a slower than expected start, after another busy off-season they sit 17-16 entering play Saturday. That’s not concerning GM Billy Eppler though, who told reporters (including Tim Britton of The Athletic) that he still believes in this roster. “I believe in this team and the players that are here. There’s too much track record, there’s too much these guys have accomplished, there’s too much know-how,” Eppler said. While a 17-16 record is certainly not the end of the world, the Mets expected better and one focus might be the top of the team’s payroll, where some of their highly-paid stars are underperforming through the first month. Starling Marte is hitting just .219/.299/.286 while Max Scherzer has a 5.56 ERA, yet Eppler says he’s not concerned by either. The Mets also just welcomed back Justin Verlander from the IL, so his return to the rotation will provide a big boost as they look to keep up with the Braves.
- Kyle Wright’s MRI revealed a right shoulder strain which the Braves will re-evaluate at a later date, per Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There is currently no timetable for his return. After a breakout season in 2022 which saw him finish tenth in NL Cy Young voting, Wright’s struggled in 2023, working to a 5.79 ERA in five starts. It seems likely the shoulder played a part in that step back, given Wright dealt with shoulder problems during spring training, and started the season on the IL. That’s a blow for Wright, who made 30 starts and pitched to a 3.19 ERA last season. The Braves, at least, are in a good position to weather the loss of Wright, with Spencer Strider, Max Fried and Charlie Morton all well established arms in Atlanta’s rotation, and Bryce Elder enjoying a strong start to the season.
Nola’s season hasn’t helped him much. He’s still going to get paid a ton because there’s really no one else out there after Ohtani, but he’s value decreased after the start of this season.
7 starts out if 210 isn’t pushing the needle unless he looks like this the rest of the way as well.
Agreed Darkside. Unless he totally blows up or gets injured, his track record of pitching in Philly speaks for itself.
Kershaw plus one other will go to Dodgers
Not happening. Too much money now being spent for one team. Any team.
I think one of that group of 4 goes to Dodgers and one of that group goes to Padres. Dodgers seem to have operated in 2022 as if they were all in on Ohtani so I’d call them the favorite for him.
Maybe the Nola brother connection makes Padres the favorite (if he leaves Philly) for him. Urias as a fall back option because like you say, Kershaw if he pitches again will go to LA and then if they add Ohtani, they won’t need / can’t likely justify paying, for Urias so maybe he heads a few mile south.
Seattle maybe for Yam?
Snell could find himself in the mix at some point if he has the typical 2nd half that he seems to show – never underestimate the value of what his 2nd half numbers mean for a team trying to go deep in playoffs! You can call him an ok #5 for 1st half to get that quality in 2nd half!
This, from the article deserves a copy/paste…” it’s worth noting that the bulk of the damage was done in his first three starts, and he’s averaging almost seven innings per start with a 3.29 ERA since then.”
“No one else out there after Ohtani”. – Julio Urias says, “what’s up?”
Dr. Van Nostrand
Yeah, put an L on the board for von this morning. Maybe he needs an extra cup of coffee today?
So does Yamamoto
I cannot imagine the Dodgers letting him go to be fair. We’re talking 3-4 pitchers with a huge drop off after them. Point is these guys are going to have half the league throwing money at them.
As a Dodger fan, I can imagine it. I can also certainly see it happening
Nola dip in velo, after throwing a ton of innings last year should be a concern when a guy is looking for north of 162mil
If his season doesn’t finish as a complete disaster, the Orioles should offer him a big contract. Would be the perfect fit for their team who is more than capable of adding and being a perennial playoff contender. If not, I could see the Angels and Dodgers offering him deals if they lose out on Ohtani.
He’s a quality pitcher. $200 million though? Probably not and I certainly don’t want to see him leave Philadelphia bc he does start out slow and once May turns into June into summer, he’s been as consistent as they come. $150 for 3yrs with a 4th year option and nice incentives is probably a fair deal. Now if he rips off 10 wins from mid May to August s d keeps his ERA under 3, that what will help any contract in his favor.
The Mets are a mess and were just swept away in Detroit ( Panic in Detroit ) lol.
Scherzer looks done and apparently needs to cheat, Marte doesn’t run or hit ( he looks like he is hiding an injury ), Lindor not doing the job, no real DH, little production from C, bench is weak, bullpen will be fried with all the 4 & 5 IP starts.
On a positive note the rookie 3B Baty looks like a Player.
Their DH is playing 1B (Alonso), while bigger bases haven’t resulted in Vogelbach stealing as many bases as we were promised.
The Mets platoon DH idea is poorly conceived. Vogelbach only hits RH pitching, can’t play a position and can’t run the bases. Mostly he looks to take walks which Mets already have with Nimmo. They need a run producer at DH which they may have in the minors with Vientos but they will need to ruffle some feathers to make room for him. Lol
that’s a stupid comment- even form a hater
Dr. Van Nostrand
Yup. Hoping Verlander can provide some help because Scherzer looks cooked. Just eat some innings. The bullpen is overtaxed and it’s only May.
The lack of Mets pitching talent in the high minors is concerning, if not embarrassing, to say the least.
On the somewhat bright side, letting Taijuan walk appears to have been the correct choice. And Wright’s vague updates portend major surgery is forthcoming. At least the Braves have enviable depth to pull from, unlike us.
It’s hard to be a Mets fan. May the Fourth and Cinco de Drinko have been necessary distractions this week.
Yes, Elder’s nice start has filled the Wright gap so far.
‘Tis right to respect one’s elders.
Took me awhile to scroll down through oblivion to find the Elder mention. I’m off to copyright “Elder Scrolls – Oblivion”…
Dr Van Nostrand,
Allowing Seth Lugo and Trevor Williams to walk though appears to have been a mistake.
Dr. Van Nostrand
Agree. They never gave Lugo the chance he deserved as a SP, but Trevor is the bigger loss imo. He filled that swing man role nicely, making spot starts and mopping up flawlessly at times after an implosion by the rotation.
The Braves have no more SP depth than the Mets. The Braves have better quality, at the top, right now.
I watched the Yankees/Rays game yesterday because the Mets have been so disappointing of late. I’m starting to think that Eppler is the wrong man for the GM job.
Eppler sounds like he’s whistling as he walks by the graveyard.
You’re right, but it’s also May. Mets usually slump in September. In a strange way this might be a positive to struggle now and get it all together for a big playoff push.
The only way he returns to the Phillies is if his value decreases dramatically. And if that’s the case why would they want to cough up north of $160m for a flawed pitcher no ther team wants? Aaron Nola is the Claude Giroux of the Phils…
‘flawed pitcher no other team wants’, lol
Stick to hockey. No obviously know nothing about baseball
Hey genius, the market always determines what sells, and for how much. Nola doesn’t create the market. What he demands will ultimately determine if he gets signed. If not, he will be forced to drop his price. Surely you can grasp that whole concept…right?
He’s having an awful start, but he’s going to be paid based on his previous seasons. It’s not a strong SP market after the top 3-4 guys. Phillies need Nola, but it’s going to cost them a ton.
The Phillies have made a slow start to the season, sitting 15-18 entering play Saturday and seven games adrift of the Braves in first place, so the return of players like Suarez and Bryce Harper will be critical to getting them back in the race for one of baseball’s more competitive divisions.
This is very very poorly written
I doubt anyone catches the Braves. I believe, however, that 3 teams come out of the East either way.
Sorry I wasted my time reading this. I won’t make that mistake again Yoursister.
Go back to trolling somewhere else please.
In other news, tell your sister I said hi.
Poorly written? Only because it’s the truth and you disagree with it.
Nola will be fine.
NYM & PHI not off to ideal start but I would still wager both are WC teams at the end. It was clear in spring that ATL is a truly special team and that’s only been reaffirmed.
As a Mets fan, I have hated Eric Chavez as the hitting coach since last year. Can’t stand the Mets offense and I have to blame the hitting coach.
Harper will win the NL MVP
Nola will be a huge overpay with the total loss of stuff
When will people learn to project the current pitcher you see literally on video with your eyes rather than the old pitcher who used to be?
Remember Julio Teheran? That’s the way Nola is heading
Dr. Van Nostrand
No wayyyyyy. C’mon man. They’re totally different pitchers.
Teheran managed to usually have a better ERA than his FiP, quite extraordinary. That’s not the case for Nola, possibly because of the porous PHI defense that isn’t helping him much.
Mets will get it going when the weather warms up. Early May is the real start of the season when the cream starts to rise to the top
Braves are in trouble. Like I stated prior to the season, it is unlikely they can count on Wright for much
It’s looking like Elder-Dodd now as the 4-5
Soroka’s return will provide a Led Zeppelin tipping point for the season.
If healthy, the rest of the east will be trampled under foot. If he’s infirm, it will be Achilles last stand and the Bravos will be brought to heel.
Darius Vines was added to the 40-man roster and is still out from an undisclosed injury, but if he was healthy in ST, he would have been in the running with Dodd/Schuster for SP5 — and still could be a possibility later in the year, depending on the injury.
Dr. Van Nostrand
I still don’t think Soroka goes over 75 innings, but that may be all the Bravos need from him anyway. They should piggyback him for a bit with one of the youngsters and then hope he can contribute without innings limitations in October.
75 IP would be fine. That’d be 15 GS on an average of 5 IP per GS. Considering the depth of the bullpen — and if trotting him out there they wouldn’t be as likely for a bullpen game — this would be near a best case scenario.
Dr. Van Nostrand
Yeah, I hate the Braves, but they’re in a very good place. Hopeful the rest of the East at least make it a competition.
The Mets have to feel good with how J.V looked Thursday in Detroit. If he stays on the field the rest of the year, he’ll be his usual self. JV has worked fast for years, and it was usually the other team that would try to stall around in the box against him to slow him down. He’ll get to his 250 wins milestone pretty quick here, as long as the Mets start hitting better.
He’ll be with the Mets the next three years, and the Mets will be glad he’s anchored the rotation. I suspect he’ll win close to what he won last year, it won’t be his pitching that prevents that. He’ll be charged up to win his 300 th during this contract he has with the Mets.
Who threw the ball to the fan that fell into the bullpen?
all in the suit that you wear
The ball got stuck in flower bed. The fan tried to get it and fell into the bullpen.
Correct, but it got stuck in the flower bed after a Boston pitcher threw him a ball, a kind gesture. People are going to assume a drunk Philly fan fell over a railing, but really this was an innocent fluke. Player did the right thing and a fan fell. Horrible accident, and props to both bullpens for getting help quick.
Dr. Van Nostrand
Both of these things can be true. The fan probably WAS drunk. Stay classy, Philthadelphia.
Nah. Looked like a young kid to me. 18 or so. Obviously underage people drink,but this was really a fluke accident.
Falter sucks. Strahm has been their only decent start so far this year.