The free agent market opens for business on Monday. With that comes all the hopeful and fretful hand-wringing amidst the uncertainty of whether the Philadelphia Phillies will be able to re-sign their homegrown ace pitcher Aaron Nola.
The Phillies have a legitimate desire to re-sign the 30-year-old Nola, as president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski declared following the team's NLCS elimination, per MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.
"He’s our priority to sign. I can't tell you that I feel 100 percent confident we’re going to get it done," Dombrowski said at his end-of-year media availability. "But we would like to sign him, and we’ll be aggressive trying to make that happen."
That sounds great, but considering how far apart the two sides were in talks last offseason, Phillies fans shouldn't hold their breath.
"We need to be in position where we have somebody else that will be a starting pitcher of quality," Dombrowski said. "So, yes, it’s either Aaron or somebody else."
As baseball fans, we want to believe that our heroes love our teams as much as we do and are willing to take a hometown discount. In reality, as much as Nola says he wants to be in red pinstripes, if the money isn't close enough, he'll be plying his trade elsewhere come Opening Day next season.
So, if Nola leaves, where will that leave the Phillies? They'll undoubtedly chase some of the free-agent starters on the market. They may even pursue Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But they could also explore the trade route. There are several quality names on the trading block, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
Per Nightengale: "The top pitchers expected to be available on this trade market this season, according to GMs, are Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers, Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays and Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Guardians."
Let's see how each of these pitchers will fit in Philadelphia. Plus, we'll throw one more name at you, who the Phillies shouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole.