Aaron Nola's description of Braves interest may fuel Phillies rivalry even more

Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola flirted with the rival Braves in MLB free agency, but claims wearing their jersey would have been 'weird'.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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The last time Aaron Nola saw the Atlanta Braves surprisingly wasn't on the mound during the Phillies eventual 10-2 win over their division rivals in the postseason. In that game, Nola threw a gem, spinning nearly six innings of two-run ball.

This offseason, the Braves maintained some interest in Nola before he re-signed with the Phillies on a seven-year, $172 million deal. The seventh year was the killer for the Braves, as they reportedly offered Nola a six-year agreement at about the same AAV.

Aaron Nola talks Braves free agency interest, eventual Phillies deal

At Phillies spring training, Nola discussed his free-agent chase and the Braves role in it all.

“(The Braves) had interest,” Nola said, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The business part of free agency, a lot of teams are looking for pitching...It’s part of the process, going through it and talking to teams. They were interested."

From the outside looking in, Alex Anthopoulos's interest in Nola helped drive the Phillies offer up, eventually forcing them to include a seventh year to one-up the Braves. Nola twisted the knife a bit deeper this week when he made it clear wearing an Atlanta uniform wasn't his preferred choice.

“It would’ve been weird to wear a (different uniform), being with one team your whole career then having something else on your chest. It would’ve definitely felt weird," Nola continued.

Frankly, what was Nola supposed to say? It's been months since he signed a long-term contract with the Phillies, a team he's spent his entire career with and will now pitch for well into the future. While this shouldn't be seen as a direct shot at the Braves, it does make clear that staying in Philly was always Nola's intention.

Anthopoulos made improving the Braves rotation his top offseason priority, so it's no wonder he tried to sign Nola, along with a number of other starters. AA was simply doing his due diligence, and made the Phillies add an extra year to Nola's contract in the process.

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