Phillies and Aaron Nola contract negotiations reach an impasse

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Aaron Nola Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

On the same day of his final Spring Training start, news broke in the Phillies camp that they and Aaron Nola will not reach an agreement on a contract extension before the start of the 2023 season. Nola, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 MLB draft, is currently set to enter free agency for the first time following the conclusion of the 2023 season.

Nola, a client of Paragon Sports International, is coming off a fourth-place finish in Cy Young Award voting in 2022. Having pitched a 3.25 ERA on the season, his largest improvement in 2022 was his 25% reduction in walks as his BB/9 fell to a league-leading 1.3. Factor in his high-yield strikeout numbers, and Nola led Major League Baseball with an 8.10 SO/BB on the year.

Joe Longo, Nola’s agent, made the following statement on Saturday regarding the negotiation breakdown:

“We had good communication with the Phillies. We just couldn’t agree at this time. We’ll pick up the conversation again at the end of the season.”

Joe Longo (Paragon Sports International)

Aaron Nola’s Spring Training Recap and Look Ahead to Opening Day

Going into Saturday, Aaron Nola had a good Spring going, having made four starts, pitching 11.2 innings with a 3.86 ERA and zero home runs. Each of these numbers, however, has inflated following his final start against the Yankees on Saturday. Nola pitched 1.2 innings against the Yankees, allowing five runs on six hits, including two home runs against Josh Donaldson and Andres Chaparro.

Despite the issues in the final tune-up of the Spring, Nola will open the 2023 season for the Phillies on Thursday against the Texas Rangers. Ironically, Nola will make his first start against the Rangers while pitching against a familiar foe in former Met Jacob deGrom.

Nola’s Value on the Market

While Aaron Nola is coming off of one of his most dominant seasons, odds are his performance will improve in 2023. The well-documented contract year effect will have Nola pitching at his absolute best as he looks to maximize his potential value in the coming offseason.

And he will need to maximize his value, given the talent potentially joining him on the free-agent market in 2024. Max Scherzer, Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Stroman, and Clayton Kershaw are just a handful of the pitchers likely to hit free agency. 

While Nola will look to increase his stock as high as he can, he and the Phillies have committed to continuing negotiation following the end of the season. Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has stated that they will continue to attempt to re-sign Nola during the offseason, but he believes it was the right decision to break off negotiations at this point.

Regardless, Aaron Nola is the Phillies’ ace going into 2023 and will play a foundational role in their efforts to return to the World Series following their 2022 success.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ashley Landis