With Opening Day 2023 less than a week away, it doesn’t appear that the Philadelphia Phillies and right-hander Aaron Nola will agree to terms on a contract extension to keep the ace in town long-term. At least not for now.
This comes after reports that the two sides were hammering out a potential extension with the self-imposed, but soft deadline of Opening Day. Nola’s agent Joe Longo believes that contract negotiations could eventually restart between his camp and the Phillies after the 2023 season, but the competition that Dave Dombrowski and Philadelphia will face to retain the soon-to-be 30-year-old starter in free agency is sure to be stiff.
Nola posted a 3.25 ERA over 205 innings pitched in 2022, compiling a 6.0 bWAR. And in the aftermath of this news, he could be motivated to pitch even better in 2023, now a likely walk year. Should he do just that, here are five teams that could line up to acquire the right-hander in free agency at the conclusion of the season
5 way-too-early landing spots for Aaron Nola in the aftermath of failed Phillies extension talks
San Diego Padres
Brother Austin Nola is a catcher for the Padres, and the two siblings faced each other last October in the NLCS. But could you imagine a Nola to Nola battery in San Diego? The possibility exists.
The Padres proved to everyone this past offseason that they aren’t afraid to toss their money around, and though they could be in the running to sign Shohei Ohtani, a fallback plan will be necessary. And what a fallback to have in Aaron Nola.
San Diego’s top two starters are Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish, with Blake Snell behind them. After those three? It gets messy for the Padres. Slotting Nola in after Musgrove and Darvish would relegate Snell to the fourth spot and give San Diego a rotation similar in caliber to their All-Star lineup.