The Hot Stove is heating up, as the first significant free agent signing occurred yesterday in the form of Aaron Nola, who inked a massive seven-year, $172 million deal to return to Philadelphia, but it wasn’t without a fight.
The Phillies competed with a slew of other clubs for Nola’s services, including their NL East rivals in Atlanta. It was reported that the Braves “were a real threat” to sign the veteran starter.
The Braves have seemingly shifted their focus to Sonny Gray, but many fans were skeptical of Alex Anthopulos’s interest level in Nola because of his price tag. Well, we now know just how serious Anthopoulos was about adding him.
According to Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Braves offered Aaron Nola a six-year, $162 million deal.
“The Braves, off back-to-back 100-win seasons and divisional-round ousters by the Phillies, made a six-year, $162 million offer to Nola out of the chute, a source said Sunday. It was a sensible starting point. Atlanta’s bid equaled the Yankees’ deal with free-agent lefty Carlos Rodón last winter.”
It’s evident that Nola preferred to be in Philadelphia, which isn’t all that shocking. The Phillies are smack dab in the middle of a championship window, have one of the best fan bases in baseball, and he’s been there his entire career. It would’ve taken something substantial to move him out of that city, especially if it meant going to a division rival.
Braves fans can take some solace in losing out on Nola because it’s very clear that Liberty Media has given Alex Anthopoulos the resources needed to upgrade the pitching staff, which tells me the club is still in the market for a frontline starter.
Sonny Gray wouldn’t demand the kind of deal that Aaron Nola did because of his age, but it would be a similar AAV. If not Gray, there are other more expensive options like Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and the trade market is also an avenue that Anthopoulos could take.
Corbin Burnes is in the final year of arbitration and could be a candidate for AA’s patented trade and subsequent contract extension. Another option is Dylan Cease, who is under team control for longer and would be more expensive in terms of prospect capital.
Regardless of who it is, the Braves will be adding to the rotation.
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