Phillies, Aaron Nola Agree to Terms of Long-term Contract

Aaron Nola tips his hat to the crowd. Nola agreed to terms on a 7-year contract with the Phillies Sunday morning.
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Phillies, Aaron Nola Agree to 7-Year Contract

Prized free agent right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola is staying in Philadelphia, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a seven-year contract worth $170–$175 million, pending a physical. Spotrac later reported that the contract is seven years, $172 million, with an annual luxury tax salary of $24,571,429.

Nola, 30, signed a four-year, $45 million contract with the Phillies February 13, 2019, avoiding arbitration. The deal included a $16 million club option for 2023, which the Phillies exercised. Upon expiry, the Phillies gave Nola a qualifying offer of $20.325 million, which Nola declined.

Background of Aaron Nola

The Phillies drafted Nola, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 Amateur Draft. The LSU product blazed through the minors, earning a call-up mid-2015. He debuted against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 21, 2015, throwing up a quality start. He allowed one run on five hits across six innings, walking one and striking out six in a tough 1–0 loss. A leadoff home run in the third inning by Rays pitcher Nate Karns was his only blemish. He ultimately appeared in 13 games in 2015, all starts. He went 6–2 with a 3.59 ERA (92 ERA-minus), 68 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 1.197 WHIP across 77 2/3 innings.

His sophomore season of 2016 did not go as well, with his 20 starts resulting in a 6–9 record with a 4.78 ERA (116 ERA-minus), 121 strikeouts, 29 walks, and a 1.306 WHIP across 111 innings. The first three starts of 2017 also did not go well for him, despite a 2–0 record. He allowed eight runs on 20 hits across 16 innings, striking out 15 and walking six while posting a 1.625 WHIP. In addition, his opponents slashed .318/.377/.413 in the three starts. The Phillies sent him down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he dominated in his two starts. He went back to the majors for good afterwards.

Breakout Season

Aaron Nola had his best season in 2018. In 33 games, all starts, he went 17–6 with a 2.37 ERA (59 ERA-minus), 224 strikeouts, 58 walks, and a 0.975 WHIP across 212 1/3 innings. In addition, he had a 2.1 home run percentage, 27.0 strikeout percentage, and 7.0 walk percentage. National League averages that season, for reference, were 2.9%, 22.4%, and 8.7%, respectively. The 20.0% difference between his strikeout percentage and walk percentage were well above the NL average of 13.8%. His efforts made him the third-place finisher in Cy Young voting for the season. In addition, the Phillies gave him the aforementioned contract, avoiding arbitration.

In Nola’s career, he has gone 90–71 in 235 appearances with a 3.72 ERA (88 ERA-minus), 1582 strikeouts, 371 walks, 169 home runs allowed, and 1.129 WHIP across 1422 innings. He has a 2.9 HR%, 27.2 K%, 6.4 BB%, and 20.8 K–BB%. The major league averages over his career are 3.1%, 22.1%, 8.4%, and 13.8%, respectively.

Looking Ahead

By re-signing Nola, the Phillies now have four starting pitchers under contract for 2024. The other three are Zack Wheeler ($23.5 million in 2024), Taijuan Walker ($18 million), and Ranger Suarez. Suarez is in his second year of arbitration, so his 2024 salary will not be known until that process finishes. Spotrac estimates that it will be $5.8 million.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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