Aaron Nola is returning to the Philadelphia Phillies on a seven-year, $172 million contract. The Braves were connected with the righty this offseason and will now look elsewhere for starting pitching for the 2024 season.
Had the Braves landed Nola, the team would have had a second quality starter to pair with Spencer Strider for beyond the 2024 season.
However, considering the current starting pitching market this year and next year, the Braves should prioritize extending Max Fried rather than pursuing a different ace.
Max Fried would not be the typical Braves extension
A Max Fried extension would not be cheap. Unlike the myriad of long-term extensions Braves players have signed since 2019, none have come in the final year of the player's contract. In fact, of the seven long-term extensions, only Matt Olson and Sean Murphy were arbitration-eligible.
The 29-year-old ace will likely be looking at a similar contract to the one Nola signed this offseason (or higher), considering his value in arbitration.
If the Braves secured a Max Fried extension, it would have to be for market value. The lefty would be taking home the highest AAV in Braves history and likely upwards of seven years.