3 agonizing free-agent destinations for Aaron Nola that would haunt Phillies fans

If the Phillies aren't able to re-sign Nola, here are a few landing spots that could prove to be trouble for Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - NLCS Game 6
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks - NLCS Game 6 / Elsa/GettyImages
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Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers finished 2023 with the second-best record in the National League, putting up a mark of 100-62.

In the regular season, the Dodgers' starting rotation finished with an ERA of 4.57, 20th-worst in MLB, according to FanGraphs. In the postseason, L.A.'s starters faltered in a big way. Of the 12 playoff teams, they came in last in ERA (25.07), FIP (18.26) and WHIP (4.07). According to FanGraphs, they also came in last in strikeout percentage at 6.1 and allowed opposing teams to hit .533 against them.

In his career, Nola has a 5-3 record with a 3.70 ERA in the postseason with 50 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. In the 2023 playoffs alone, the 30-year-old put up an impressive 2.35 ERA, holding opponents to a .214 average and striking out 23 across 23 innings on his way to a 3-1 record.

Right now, the Dodgers only have $108.8 million committed to the 2024 payroll, according to Spotrac. Heading into next season, they could be missing some pitchers, including Clayton Kershaw and Lance Lynn.

There's no doubt the Dodgers will be targeting starting pitchers in free agency, but the Phillies might be able to avoid seeing Nola in a Dodgers uniform without much action on their end.

Ohtani is the prized, two-way free agent this offseason, even if he won't be able to pitch in 2024 after having surgery on his right elbow on Aug. 23. The expectation around the league is that the Dodgers are willing to go all-in for the 29-year-old, who is likely to get offered the biggest contract in the history of the league. If they miss out on Ohtani, though, their attention could shift to Nola.

Since coming into the league in 2015, Nolas has only faced the Dodgers nine times, posting a 2-1 record with a 4.42 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 53 innings.

In 2024, the Phillies and Dodgers will face off six times, with all of the games coming in July and August.

In the past two years when the Phillies were in the playoffs, the Dodgers lost in the National League Division Series, escaping any potential postseason matchups against Philadelphia. Overall, though, Los Angeles has made the playoffs for 11 straight years, winning the World Series in 2020.

That means there's a very good chance that the Phillies would face the Dodgers and Nola in the playoffs for years to come.

NEXT: A bitter division rival Nola helped put out of the playoffs two years in a row