New York Mets
The New York Mets appear to be aiming for bigger things in free agency — namely Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. However, if they swing and miss on both of those Japanese pitchers, they could turn their sights within the division for starting pitching, and Nola could be an enticing option.
Zachary Rymer of Bleacher Report has the Mets at No. 7 on his list of top spots for Nola.
After throwing money at the wall last year to the tune of a league-high $343.6 million payroll, per Spotrac, the team unraveled at the trade deadline, sending aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander packing. With both starters gone, the team is now searching for a solid top-of-the-rotation arm to pair with Kodai Senga.
In addition to losing Scherzer and Verlander during the season, Carlos Carrasco is a free agent and David Peterson had hip surgery and will miss part of 2024, meaning starting pitching help should be prioritized by the team.
While the Mets haven't been consistently competitive in years, they won 101 games and made the playoffs in 2022. Coupled with Mets owner Steve Cohen's willingness to spend big, it's not too far-fetched to expect the Mets will return to postseason contention in 2024. After a 75-87 record and a fourth-place finish in the NL East, the Mets will be looking to turn things around.
It's no secret there's no love lost between Phillies and Mets fans. And that rivalry is felt by the players. After clinching against Atlanta to advance to the National League Championship Series, backup catcher Garrett Stubbs and teammates had no hesitation making their feelings known in the clubhouse:
In 26 starts against the Mets in his career, Nola has a 9-8 record and 3.40 ERA with 190 strikeouts and 48 walks in 150 2/3 innings. The right-hander can give the team innings and save the bullpen. In 2023, the Mets only had one starter throw more than 150 innings (Senga, 166 1/3). While their starters had a middle-of-the-pack 4.20 ERA for the year, the bullpen had a 4.45 ERA, good for 22nd in the league, per FanGraphs.
The Mets and Phillies will play each other 13 times in 2024. Seven of those games will be played in September when the season and a trip to the postseason could be on the line.
NEXT: A potential playoff opponent could haunt the Phillies' World Series aspirations