Phillies ink Aaron Nola to four-year extension

Philadelphia Phillies MLB Aaron Nola

While the Philadelphia Phillies await decisions from both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, they went ahead and locked up their ace pitcher to a long-term extension.

The Phillies announced on Wednesday that they have signed starting right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola to a four-year contract extension through the 2022 season, avoiding arbitration. The deal also includes a club option for the 2023 season.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Nola’s new deal will be worth $45 million. This upcoming season, the 25-year-old pitcher will receive a $2 million signing bonus, while making $4 million. However, those numbers will increase over the next few years, as Nola will reportedly make $8 million in 2020, $11.75 million in 2021, and $15 million in 2022.

According to Passan, the Phillies offered the All-star pitcher $4.4 million for this upcoming season during an arbitration exchange. Nola’s side, however, came back to the negotiation table and wanted $5.25 million.

Nevertheless, it does not come as a surprise to see the Phillies signing the 25-year-old to a long-term deal. Last season, Nola proved not only to the Phillies, but to the rest of the baseball world that he is a Cy Young Award-caliber pitcher.

The former 2014 first-round pick had a record of 17-6 to along with a career-high 224 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.37. He also had an impressive SO/9 of 9.5, which was good for eighth in the National League and a WAR (wins above replacement) of 10, which was only second behind New York Mets ace pitcher Jacob deGrom.

However, despite his career-year on the mound, it was not enough to win the N.L. Cy Young Award as it went to deGrom. Nola finished third in the voting, while Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals finished second.

With Nola now locked up for the foreseeable future, the Phillies can continue to build their rotation around the ace. Jake Arrieta, who they signed last offseason to a three-year contract, is still under contract at least until the 2021 season. But he also has a player opt-out after this season.

After Arrieta, however, things get kind of murky in the Phillies’ starting rotation. As of right now, their third, fourth, and fifth starters are Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin.

Each of these pitchers showed flashes of potential last season but also had games where they looked like absolute train wrecks.

With that being said, if Philadelphia wants to make the postseason, they will need another 17-plus win performance from Nola, in addition to the back end of rotation holding up the end of their bargain.

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