PHILADELPHIA – In the midst of another trip back to the Fall Classic, the absolute last thing on the Phillies’ minds right now is free agency. However, this won’t stop certain players from making their case for a new contract come the 2024 season.
Phillies Pitching Looking To Stay In the Same Place
Aaron Nola and Craig Kimbrel have both posted notable numbers during the regular season but the jury is still out on what price tag (and location) will be accompanied by said performances. Coincidentally, both players were mentioned in MLB.com’s recent article about the 13 players who could earn new contracts with strong performances in the playoffs.
The addition of these Phillies to this list was not surprising given their upcoming free agency bouts but their futures in the City of Brotherly Love remain unknown at the moment.
Nola, a six-time Opening Day starter and one-time All-Star for the Phillies, is coming off of a rocky regular season campaign that witnessed him surrender at least four runs in 15 of his 32 starts while allowing a career-high 32 long balls. Don’t let these stats fool you though because he was able to put up two quality starts to end the year and go seven shutout innings in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series. If his efforts continue during this expedition, then he could very well be that much closer to a long-term deal.
Kimbrel, a nine-time All-Star and former ROTY, has continued dominating the league with no signs of slowing down. His prove-it-or-move-it deal with Philly has seen him collect his 400th career save along with another trip to the All-Star game, his second in the past three seasons.
He also placed in the 98th percentile for strikeout percentage which is reflected in his 3.35 K:BB ratio.
Big Red isn’t as youthful as he once was but now at age 35, his veteran presence is something that’s proved invaluable for the Phillies daycare. Their current postseason run marks his ninth trip overall which ranks amongst the highest in the league for relievers. Adding to this, his latest save against the Marlins in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series only further shows that he could add additional time and money come free agency.
Keeping Their Eyes On The Prize
Now shifting their focus, the Phillies have no time to waste in preparing to take on the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS. They’ll be looking to face a team that is most likely going to win Rawlings’s new Team Silver Slugger award given to the club that puts up the most numbers on offense. Not to mention, potential NL MVP Ronald Acuna and single-season RBI record holder for Atlanta, Matt Olson will be awaiting their arrival.
Philly has all the tools needed to put on another great showing against the Braves and could very well present a challenge for the Georgia club. For now, free agency is going to have to take a back seat but once those winter meetings come into play, you bet things are going to heat up around the league.
Photo: (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)