Braves No. 2 starter: RHP Aaron Nola
Oh, yes. The recent rumors suggesting the Braves would be interested in Aaron Nola have reached a fever pitch, so much so that we feel inclined to acknowledge them. Nola does have a connection to Atlanta that may give them an edge over other teams, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggests:
Rosenthal wrote, "Of the pitchers available, righty Aaron Nola is perhaps the most intriguing fit. Nola is close with Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who was with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2016 to ‘18. And as a native of Baton Rouge, La., who attended LSU, he might prefer to sign with a team in the south."
With the Phillies seemingly out on Nola given his price tag, the Braves are a looming threat for his services. He's coming off the worst year of his big-league career, posting an ERA over 4.50. That won't cut it in Atlanta. However, Nola improved immensely towards the end of the season and was the star of the Phillies pitching staff in the postseason. He and the Phils were one game away from reaching another World Series, but lost two straight games at home to the Diamondbacks, thus cementing their fate.
Nola signing in Atlanta would make him a villain in Philadelphia, which is all the motivation Anthopoulos needs to pursue him. The money is an issue, but in this 'dream world', money is not object to the Braves.