Right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola called the Philadelphia Phillies “the most comfortable place” for him after reaching a seven-year, $172 million contract extension with the team on November 19.
“Enjoyable and not enjoyable at the same time,” Nola said on Monday. “Not really about the money. Being in a place we want to be for the next seven years. That part is more important for me. We wanted to go through and see what it’s about, but ultimately this is the place we wanted to be.”
Having been drafted by the Phillies with the seventh pick in 2014, Nola made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2015. He became an All-Star in 2018 and was selected into the All-MLB Second Team in 2022. He pitched in 193.2 innings this season with a 11-9 record, a 4.46 earned run average (ERA), a 1.151 walks and hits per inning pitched, plus 202 strikeouts.
The Phillies finished the 2023 regular season with 90 wins and came in second in the National League (NL) East. They knocked out the Miami Marlins and the Atlanta Orioles in the playoffs before losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 in the NL Championships series.
“We have one of the best pitchers in baseball that really fits into our ballclub,” the Phillies’ president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “Sometimes you have to make compromises, you have to go to certain length. You weigh the dollars and length of contract, an individual that’s talented, tremendous pitcher, reliable, you know the makeup of the individual, extremely hard worker.”
Nola threw a 2.35 ERA in four starts in the postseason with a 3-1 record. “We’ve gotten pretty close,” he said. “We obviously have the team to do it. It’s everybody’s in the organization’s goal to do that. That was a big reason I came back.”
Over a dozen top players became free agents in this offseason, including Shohei Ohtani, who won his second unanimous American League Most Valuable Player award. Nola became the first of them to get a juicy deal.