As things stand, right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Nola is set to hit free agency after this season. Coming off a trip to the World Series and a fourth-place finish in NL Cy Young voting -- not to mention the Phillies' seemingly endless checking account -- it seemed that the conditions were ripe for an extension.
And yet, nothing is going to happen, at least not before Opening Day.
"We think the world of him, quality pitcher, quality human being, but sometimes you get to this point where you're not able to consummate a deal that both sides feel comfortable," Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said Saturday, via Alex Coffey.
On Nola's side, agent Joe Longo provided Coffey with the following:
"We had good communication with the Phillies. We just couldn't agree at this time. We'll pick up the conversation again at the end of the season."
The good news here, Phillies fans, is it sounds like there remains mutual interest. It's just that with the season right around the proverbial corner, it wouldn't behoove anyone to have this kind of distraction. There's always a period between the end of the season and free agency, even if the Phillies go to the World Series again, during which the two sides could negotiate an extension before Nola would hit the open market.
Nola, 29, was the Phillies' first-round pick out of LSU in 2014. He was an All-Star and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2018, had a bit of a down year in 2019, was very good in 2020 and sub-par (at best) in 2021. Last season, he went 11-13 with a 3.25 ERA (125 ERA+), 2.58 FIP, 0.96 WHIP and 235 strikeouts against 28 unintentional walks in 205 innings last year.
Nola heads to 2023 in the final year of a five-year, $56.75 million deal.