The Atlanta Braves have been busy over the last couple of days by freeing up roster spots and cap space. With the intentions to increase payroll and starting pitching being a top priority for the Braves, Aaron Nola seemed like a great fit.
On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies opened their checkbook and signed Aaron Nola to a 7-year deal worth $172 million.
This contract has the stellar right handed starter in Philly through the 2030 season. At the end of this contract, Nola will have been part of the Phillies rotation for 16 seasons and will be 37 years of age.
Nola was viewed as one of the best (if not the best) starting pitcher on the free agent market this off-season. He was an all-star back in 2018 and has had a more than respectable career. Through his first 9 seasons, Nola has a 90-71 record wih a 3.72 ERA.
Last season was not exactly Nola's best as he posted his third highest ERA of his career (4.46). His struggles put into question if the Phillies were going to attempt to retain him but those questions were answered this afternoon.
Now the Atlanta Braves will most likely turn their sights to the next big name starter free agent, Sonny Gray. Look for Anthopoulos to be aggressive moving forward to address starting pitching needs before other teams have the same thought and the free agent market weakens.
Another option at the Braves have in the coming weeks is to look for starting pitching solutions within the organization and making a bigger splash for relievers and/or a left fielder.
Aaron Nola would have been great to add to the Atlanta starting rotation but signing him was a long shot. He has been with the Philies his entire career and him leaving Philadelphia after 9 seasons for a division rival was a little far fetched.
This move may have took a target off the market, but Alex Anthopoulos still has a plan and Braves country should trust in it.