The Phillies were able to lock up Aaron Nola for his prime with a new four-year extension. The team should get huge surplus value with this new deal.
The Phillies signed another member to their core Wednesday, announcing a four-year, $45 million extension with Aaron Nola. The extension buys out Nola’s arbitration years and one free agency year, along with the club option for another. This keeps him under team control through 2023, his age-30 season.
An obvious positive of this deal is avoiding arbitration with Nola for the rest of his career. The two sides were more than two million dollars apart when the arbitration deadline hit, indicating things could get testy. Nola’s new contract will keep both sides happy for years to come.
Beyond that, this contract provides a tremendous surplus of value for Philadelphia. Nola will make $16 million in 2023 with the club option, pennies compared to what he is worth.
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In his Cy Young-caliber 2018 season, Nola was worth $45.1 million according to Fangraphs, eighth-most among all pitchers. If he continues to pitch this way for the coming years, the team will be getting a huge bang for their buck.
Even if you argue that Nola’s 2018 season was a flash in the pan, he will still be worth way more than he is being paid. In 2016, when Nola struggled for two months and missed the final two months of the season, he was still worth $21.8 million. In 2017, when Nola was strong but not quite Cy Young level yet, he was worth $33.6 million. At worst, Nola would be worth double what he is being paid at his 2017 level of production.
Had Nola made it all the way to free agency, he would command a deal similar to Patrick Corbin‘s with the Nationals (six years, $140 million). For at least two years, Philadelphia would have Nola below market value with the chance for another extension if he continues to succeed.
Looking towards the future, all Nola has to do is be a good pitcher, and he will be worth the money he is getting paid. We know he is more than capable of that with the ceiling of a Cy Young-caliber starter. Considering that, this extension was a massive steal for a team looking to find the best marginal value.