Aaron Nola is staying in Philadelphia, after all.
The righthander signed a seven-year contract to remain with the Phillies after testing the free-agent market, the team said Sunday. ESPN and others reported the 30-year-old’s contract is worth $172 million.
“At the outset of this offseason, we made signing Aaron our top priority,” Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said. “We are committed to winning, and having an individual like him in our uniform for years to come only helps us in that regard.
“Aaron has proven to be one of the best and most durable pitchers in our game for a number of years now, and when considering his leadership abilities and his character, it was very important for us to keep him a part of the Phillies family.”
Nola is the first big-name starting pitcher to come off the board among this year’s free agents, a group including Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Nola was a first-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2014, debuted with Philadelphia the next year and has been there his entire career. He’s been one of baseball’s most dependable pitchers — a valuable commodity with the modern stress on big league bullpens.
He made at least 32 starts and pitched at least 180 ⅔ innings in five of the last six years — the exception was the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Nola went 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts with Philadelphia this year, finishing with 202 strikeouts in 193⅔ innings. He had a 4.63 ERA in 2021 and a 4.78 ERA in 2016 in his only other years in that vicinity. His career mark is 3.72.
Nola helped Philadelphia secure an NL wild card in 2023, and then went 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in four playoff starts. The Phillies were eliminated by Arizona in the NL Championship Series.
Nola made five postseason starts when Philadelphia made it to the 2022 World Series before losing to Houston. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native finished with a 2-2 record and a 4.91 ERA.
The 6-foot-2 Nola played college ball at LSU before he was selected by Philadelphia with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 amateur draft. He made his big league debut in July 2015, going 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts for the Phillies.
Nola is 90-71 with a 3.72 ERA in 235 career starts over nine seasons — all with Philadelphia. He has 1,582 strikeouts in 1,422 innings.
He had his best season in 2018, when he went 17-6 with a career-low 2.37 ERA in 33 starts and a career-high 212⅓ innings.