Top 3 Free Agent Destinations For Aaron Nola

As he's still a little tied up with competing in the National League Championship Series, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola likely isn't thinking much about his impending free agency. But that will change soon enough, when teams looking for an ace starter come pounding on his door. 

He has the second-most innings-pitched in all of baseball since 2018. A top of the rotation starter, with a career 3.72 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, a 90-71 record, and three top-10 Cy Young finishes. 

St. Louis Cardinals

A team that has come out and said firmly that they'll be adding at least two starting pitchers from the free agent market this winter (if not more), as their rotation was a bust this season, and is now a shell of its former self with Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery and Adam Wainwright all not returning. They finished 24th in the majors in team ERA in 2023 (at 4.79), and 27th in WHIP (1.46). They will be all over a pitcher like Nola. 

Boston Red Sox

A lack of legitimate starting pitching was the main reason that the Red Sox finished last in the AL East for the second straight year. They will spend on the rotation this winter, and they will spend big. 

"To win championships, you have to pitch. That's the bottom line," manager Alex Cora said after the BoSox season was done. "We haven't been able to get to that point yet. I think the last time we had a healthy rotation was in '21."

Nola should be top of their list of potential adds. 

Philadelphia Phillies

Nola would presumably like to stay in Philly if the price is right, and the Phillies presumably want to keep him, as there was word even before the season that negotiations had begun on a nine-figure extension exceeding $100M. But is that going to get the job done after the $162M the much-less-accomplished Carlos Rodon got last winter from the New York Yankees?

The talk is that Nola was looking for  an eight-year contract in excess of $200 million. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the two sides "never came close to reaching a contract extension last winter and it’s unknown whether they can bridge that gap now." 

We'll see if a potential World Series appearance and/or win could change that. 

Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports