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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Forecasting Aaron Nola’s free-agent payday as contract talks with Phillies break off

Nola is a free agent after the 2023 season, and on Saturday, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that extension talks had broken off.

“We are not going to get that done at this point,” Dombrowski said. “We are going to, at this point, break those off. We think the world of Aaron. We’ve talked long and hard with Aaron and his representative about the situation. We think the world of him, quality pitcher, quality human being, but sometimes you just get to this point where you’re just not able to consummate a deal where both sides feel comfortable.”

If you’re Nola, the benefit of doing a deal now would be to avoid the worst-case scenario of suffering a significant injury during the season that affects the next payday. But obviously, the sides did not get close enough financially during their conversations in spring training. Nola will apparently reach free agency, where he and Julio Urias are set to be the top two starting pitchers available. (Free-agent-to-be Shohei Ohtani is in a tier of his own.)

Nola, who has earned approximately $63 million in his eight-year big-league career, turns 30 on June 4. He is coming off his second-best season—a 3.25 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 32 starts. He and Corbin Burnes were the only pitchers in the majors with so low an ERA and WHIP in at least 200 innings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2023 at 04:51 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aaron nola, phillies

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 26, 2023 at 05:36 PM (#6121392)
That $63 estimate seems to include his $3 M signing bonus back when he was drafted. Anyway, the Phils got him on an arb + 1 FA + 1 option buyout after his big 2018 for a seemingly paltry $57 including this option year. Coincidentally, his 2022 FIP is a good match for his 2018 ERA. Anyway Nola is probably as close as you can get to a guaranteed 200 IP starter these days. The K-rate is excellent, the walk rate the last two years also excellent and last year he cut down on HR too. His 2021 ERA was a whopping 4.63 but his FIP was just 3.37, a pretty monumental difference. His career FIP is now 3.28.

In short, I might need to read the article. Nola should project quite well I'd think. His peripherals put him around Darvish except Nola is 6 years younger and Darvish just got that weird 6/$108 extension that is probably more like a 4/$100 extension spread out for CBT purposes. His durability is better and peripherals at least as good as Rodon who got 6/$162 for 30-35. I wouldn't have thought so before looking at it but somewhere in the 4/$100 to 6/$150 range seems quite plausible. I will assume they were looking for at least 5/$135 which is Rodon money but even if they were pushing for 6/$180 that seems a point from which DD could have negotiated them down to something more reasonable.

Upshot: Nola has been a much better pitcher than I realized. Interestingly, they get there in quite different ways but career bWAR and fWAR are both 29.9

EDIT: Just read the article, don't waste your time, it contains no forecast.
   2. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: March 26, 2023 at 06:17 PM (#6121398)
Forgive me for being skeptical of anything Dave Dombrowski says, thinks, or does. I live just outside of Detroit, and I've seen this movie before.
   3. The Duke Posted: March 26, 2023 at 08:35 PM (#6121409)
It's never good to sign pitchers too early. Last season was long and there's a lot of wear and tear on his arm. You can always overwhelm him in the exclusive signing period if he has a good year
   4. Rally Posted: March 27, 2023 at 09:27 AM (#6121429)
I’m a little surprised Burnes pitched 200 innings. In his Cy Young season he barely qualified for the ERA title. I knew he didn’t have quite as good a year so I just assumed he didn’t greatly exceed his previous workload.
   5. kirstie819 Posted: March 27, 2023 at 10:33 AM (#6121431)
When it comes to keeping your Honda Ridgeline in top condition, one of the easiest and most cost-effective upgrades you can make is to replace your headlight bulbs with LED bulbs. LEDs offer superior visibility and efficiency, delivering brighter, whiter lights that last longer and put less strain on your battery.
   6. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2023 at 12:20 PM (#6121441)
Any pitcher that makes it to FA should be given a farewell dinner and a good luck with your next team pat on the back.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2023 at 02:51 PM (#6121470)
So you only sign FA pitchers from other teams? Or you never sign FA pitchers and have no chance to compete unless you've gotten incredibly lucky with your development?

Nola reached 6 years service time in 2021. The Phils only had him for 2022-23 because they had already extended him past his FA date.
   8. Ron J Posted: March 27, 2023 at 09:35 PM (#6121539)
#7 Well free agents as a group are paid quite a bit more than their contribution to revenue. Yeah probably less important these days than at any time in major league history but still ...

And this is driven in no small part by the signings who give you little to nothing. And Jed Lowrie notwithstanding the free agent disasters skew heavily towards pitchers.

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that maybe 10% of the time a team looks back on a pitcher the let get away and thinks, "Damn if only we'd matched that offer."

I've never compared free agents who re-sign with their team to those who sign elsewhere. Doubt it's interesting but you never know.
   9. McCoy Posted: March 28, 2023 at 12:13 PM (#6121597)
Hey, if a 30 year old pitcher that's good wants to sign a 2 year contract, great sign him up. But a 6 year mega contract? No thanks.

A team should be doing everything it can to buy some FA years while they have control of the pitcher but once he hits the market let him go.
   10. Adam Starblind Posted: March 28, 2023 at 12:26 PM (#6121599)
#7 Well free agents as a group are paid quite a bit more than their contribution to revenue.

There are other considerations.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2023 at 09:43 PM (#6121656)
We may actually in a bit of an era of young pitcher dominance but how many teams succeed without expensive FA-eligible SPs in their rotation? If you don't have a Scherzer, Verlander or, hell, Jon Lester or Zack Wheeler or Yu Darvish in your rotation ... if your rotation is all guys with <6 years service time ... you are not likely to have a lot of success unless you really hit the draft/development jackpot.

Without question, there are lots of disaster FA pitcher signings/extensions (Strasburg/Corbin to name two) but equally without question, there are a lot of disastrous seasons by young starters (who are also frequently tearing elbow ligaments and such). So sure, it is commonplace that teams are happy they didn't sign some guy for 6/$150 or more ... but how happy were they to send a collection of 84 ERA+ young guys out there time and time again over those 6 years?

30 teams, 5 rotation slots plus usually at least 2-3 guys to take 30+ starts between them as fill-ins -- there just aren't enough effective young pitchers available for a competing team to turn its back on the expensive FAs.
   12. McCoy Posted: March 29, 2023 at 05:29 AM (#6121672)
The 2016 Cleveland Indians were a Maddon call away from winning the world series.

   13. McCoy Posted: March 29, 2023 at 05:34 AM (#6121673)
The 2017 Astros traded for Verlander. He had no real influence on the Astros getting to the playoffs that season but was rather successful getting the Astros to the WS in the playoffs.
   14. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: March 29, 2023 at 08:48 AM (#6121678)
One of the perils of giving a 29-year-old shortstop $300 million over 11 years is that you can't act poor when a superstar of your own wants to be paid.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 29, 2023 at 04:29 PM (#6121708)
Nola, who has earned approximately $63 million in his eight-year big-league career, turns 30 on June 4. He is coming off his second-best season—a 3.25 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 32 starts. He and Corbin Burnes were the only pitchers in the majors with so low an ERA and WHIP in at least 200 innings.

This is kind of weird, in that it sounds cherry-picked to make Nola appear better than he was (only 7 pitchers threw 200+ innings, so you've eliminated a lot of guys with that criteria). But he was still #4 in the majors in pitching WAR last year, so the cherry picking is unnecessary.

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