MLB Newtwork’s Jon Morosi is quickly becoming the preferred reporter amongst Braves fans. Earlier today, he dropped a nugget that said Shohei Ohtani is “intrigued” by the idea of playing in Atlanta. Now, Morosi is reporting that the Braves have checked in on Aaron Nola.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2023
Typically, the Braves don’t get involved in bidding wars for free agents during the offseason, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggested things could be different this winter.
“One of the remarkable things about the Atlanta Braves is that none of their players signed long-term has a salary of more than $22 million,” Rosenthal writes via The Athletic. “But for the right starting pitcher in free agency, the Braves are willing to go higher.”
“The $22 million figure is not an actual ceiling, but merely the peak number the Braves settled upon in their extensions for Matt Olson and Austin Riley, according to sources briefed on the team’s plans who are not authorized to speak publicly.”
Rosenthal even mentioned Aaron Nola as a potential possibility, as the Phillies seem to be far apart on numbers. He is also from Baton Rouge and could prefer moving closer to home.
From the Braves perspective, signing Nola makes too much sense. They are desperate for another frontline arm, and his durability has to be particularly attractive to a team whose pitchers have been plagued by injuries in recent years. Nola is the definition of a workhorse. He’s made 32 or more starts in every season since 2018, excluding the COVID shortened 2020 campaign. He has also thrown 180+ innings in each of those years, finishing inside the top seven of the NL Cy Young race three times.
Stealing Nola away from a division rival and the team that has knocked the Braves out of the postseason in each of the last two seasons has to be appealing as well. I would be surprised if the Phillies, who have much deeper pockets than the Braves, let that happen. However, if they continue to play games with their star pitcher, Alex Anthopoulos should take full advantage.
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