As right-hander Aaron Nola hits free agency for the first time in his career, there have been indications of mutual interest in a reunion with the Phillies, as both Nola and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski have spoken publicly about a desire to continue the relationship into 2024 and beyond. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi cautions, however, that the sides are not “at all close on a reunion.” While Morosi acknowledges the “strong” relationship between Nola and the Phillies, he suggests that due to the number of teams in the market for pitching help this season, there’s a “better than 50/50” chance that Nola is able to find a better offer outside of Philadelphia.
That Nola’s camp wouldn’t look to get together on a deal with the Phillies this early in the offseason is hardly surprising. After all, the sides were unable to agree on an extension prior to the 2023 campaign, and with Nola now a free agent he figures to be one of the most attractive rotation arms on the open market this offseason to teams in need of pitching. He ranked fifth overall in MLBTR’s Top 50 free agents list this offseason, behind only NPB superstar Yoshinobu Yamamoto and left-hander Blake Snell among this offseason’s starting pitching market. That being said, there’s still reason for optimism regarding a reunion between the sides, as Morosi suggests that Nola could give the Phillies the opportunity to match if he receives a better offer elsewhere.
Of course, Nola is far from the only quality starter on the market, meaning the Phillies will have plenty of alternatives available should he depart for another club this winter. In addition to Yamamoto and Snell, left-handers Jordan Montgomery and Shota Imanaga figure to be among the upper-tier rotation arms available this offseason. Veteran right-hander Sonny Gray is also available this offseason and has already been connected to the Phillies, while Brewers ace Corbin Burnes and Rays righty Tyler Glasnow are among the front-of-the-rotation caliber arms who could potentially be available in trade this offseason.
More from the Phillies…
- ESPN’s Buster Olney reported earlier today that Philadelphia has “no intention” of trading outfielder Nick Castellanos this offseason. While previous reporting had indicated that the club could be open to moving Castellanos, MLBTR’s Steve Adams discussed the pitfalls in such a strategy yesterday. Given the likelihood that Philadelphia would likely have to attach a prospect or eat significant salary to move the remaining three seasons on Castellanos’s deal, it’s hardly a surprise that the club doesn’t expect to deal the two-time All Star ahead of his age-32 campaign. With Kyle Schwarber set to be the club’s regular DH and Bryce Harper poised to remain at first base long term, Castellanos figures to remain entrenched as the club’s everyday right fielder, with Brandon Marsh in left and Johan Rojas in center barring any additions to the club’s outfield mix.
- The Phillies recently announced a series of promotions in their front office, headlined by Brian Barber being promoted to the role of assistant GM, amateur scouting and Preston Mattingly being promoted to the role of assistant GM, player development. Barber has overseen the club’s amateur drafts since joining the club following the 2019 season. Mattingly, the son of longtime player and manager Don Mattingly, joined the Phillies as director of player development at the end of the 2021 season after five years as a member of the Padres’ scouting department.