PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies want Aaron Nola back, but if he leaves, they ensured they will receive Draft-pick compensation as a consolation prize.
The Phils made Nola a one-year qualifying offer worth $20.325 million on Monday. He has until 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 14 to accept or reject it. Nola will reject it because he is seeking a multiyear deal, which could exceed $200 million. If Nola accepts the offer, he would be signed to a one-year deal and have to wait another year before testing free agency.
Now, if Nola signs with another team, the Phillies will receive a compensatory pick following the fourth round of the 2024 Draft.
“We love him,” Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said recently. “He’s been tremendous for the franchise. He’s pitched very well for a number of years. He’s a Phillie. We hope to retain him, but if we don’t to me that would be our No. 1 area – we would need to replace him. We need to be in position where we have somebody else that will be a starting pitcher of quality in the rotation. So, yes, it’s either Aaron or somebody else.”
Nola, 30, was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. His 30.4 WAR from 2017-23 is third best among pitchers behind Max Scherzer (37.0) and Gerrit Cole (32.3), according to Baseball Reference. Nola has thrown 1,233 1/3 innings over the past seven regular seasons, second to Cole (1,279 2/3). Nola also ranks third in strikeouts (1,393), seventh in wins (78) and WHIP (1.11) and ninth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.31) in that span.
Nola should have no shortage of suitors. First, every team needs starting pitching. Second, Nola is one of the best pitchers on the market. Other top free-agent starters include Sonny Gray, Shota Imanaga, Jordan Montgomery, Eduardo Rodriguez, Blake Snell, Marcus Stroman and Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
Free agent first baseman Rhys Hoskins and right-handers Craig Kimbrel and Michael Lorenzen did not receive qualifying offers from the Phillies. This does not close the door on Hoskins’ return in 2024. His chances depend on how much first base Bryce Harper will play.