Baseball is a business, and Aaron Nola has found that out the hard way with the Philadelphia Phillies. Nola is a homegrown ace for the Phils. He'd love to remain in the city of brotherly love if re-signed to a fair price, but the pair remain far apart on a potential contract.
Nola wanted upwards of $200 million in a long, multiyear extension last offseason. The Phillies balked, instead hoping to bring Nola back into the fold this winter. However, that allows Nola to reach free agency, where he's expected to have a litany of suitors. Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the odds of a Nola-Phils deal are dropping by the day:
"He (Dombrowski) wouldn’t mind bringing back starter Aaron Nola, but they were four years and about $100 million apart in their negotiations last winter, and it’s highly unlikely the gap will completely close...GMs believe that the Phillies will let Nola walk, and will turn their attention to Blake Snell, who’s about to win his second Cy Young award."
The second piece of information provided by Nightengale is new. If the Phillies were to lose out on Nola, they would pursue another ace to replace him.
MLB Rumors: Phillies have Aaron Nola backup plan in mind
Nola is coming off a down season by his standards, as he had an ERA over four leading the Phillies rotation. Zack Wheeler, acquired to be the team's co-ace, stepped in as the best pitcher in the rotation.
Snell, who Nightengale and rival GMs believe the Phillies would pursue if re-signing Nola falls through, is favored to win the NL Cy Young. He would likely come at a similar price tag to Nola, if not more, but brings a far better 2023 pedigree.
Nola, meanwhile, has been connected to the St. Louis Cardinals and more already this offseason.