The numbers add up for the Phillies to give Aaron Nola a seven-year contract averaging $24 million or so per year. Losing him would have meant a hole in the No.2 spot of their rotation. at the very least, and the Phillies aren’t chasing down Atlanta (even if their 40-man roster might have 18 guys at this pace) or getting through October with just one front-runner. You can jump through hoops and pull out all the smoke and mirrors with a bullpen, but most teams have at least two guys who can get through five innings in the playoffs who end up on a parade bus.
The numbers go on. Nola was certainly off his usual form last season, but a lot of that was due to things out of control. Nola was a victim of sequencing, posting just a 66 percent lefty-on-base percentage. That’s seven points below his career average, so while he didn’t give up as many hits as he normally does, they were just more strung together than they were for no other reason than baseball likes to laugh at your plans every now and then for his own amusement.
Nola also saw his HR/FB rate double from 2022, despite giving up softer contact on flies in 2023. Sometimes a wider variety of flies just ends up in someone’s nachos. He even doubled his popup rate from 2022 to 2023, so it’s more likely that Nola is more of his 2022 version than the one Phillies fans saw in 2023.
Are there flashing lights? Of course, there’s always a pitcher entering his 30s. Nola also got less float and less caught-look strikes. The fastball was off ever so slightly in velocity and it probably won’t get any better as he turns 31 in June. Nola was also hit harder than he ever was in 2023, with his barrel rate vs. and average exit velocity vs. rising from 2022.
But the free-agent market has been short on other solutions. The Phillies could have paid more for Blake Snell, but his peripherals suggest he could be a walking hand grenade, judging by the money he’ll get in 2024. Eduardo Rodriguez is solid, but the same age as Nola and not so capable of the heights. Youshinobu Yamamoto is an unknown, though the Phillies are still rumored to be after him to bring Nola back home.
But it would be more encouraging to believe that the Phillies like what they have going on, that there is something incalculable about their October success over the past two seasons, that fans have grown attached to this team and like it for so long want to keep together as they can. A front office not only has to indulge in sentimentality, but it also just can’t be about the printouts. There’s a vibe to the Phillies and maybe it has a hand in making them what they are, and maybe it doesn’t. But most within that organization think it helps their cause, however much, and while the numbers all say it was perfectly acceptable to bring Nola back, it’s refreshing to think a team with the ability to kind of thing to pay, do it.
Sure, the fifth through seventh years of this deal could be ugly, but what do the Phillies care? They’re going for a World Series now and the whole thing is probably built up by then anyway. They have something that works now, and it’s refreshing to see a team not skimp on it in the name of saving a dollar here or there.
Here’s where it all starts to end for Brandon Staley
-You know it’s over for a coach when they start lashing out at the media. It’s like the last lever to pull before they get called into the GM’s office. So Brandon Staley should probably start getting the resume ready and the house packed:
It’s never a good sign when the defensive head coach has a defense that sucks. Kind of what their thing is supposed to be. The Chargers find a way to lose far more often than they find a way to win. The difference in the NFL is always micro-thin, a few plays here or there. The well-coached teams make them or at least don’t make the ones that blow their own noses. The Chargers do and seeing as how Staley takes it out on the beat reporters, he seems to know where this is leading.
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