6 free agent pitchers the Phillies should chase if Aaron Nola leaves

Who can the Phillies pursue in free agency for their starting pitching needs if they don't end up re-signing Nola?
Aaron Nola is a free agent, the Philadelphia Phillies need to find someone to fill his spot if they can't re-sign him
Aaron Nola is a free agent, the Philadelphia Phillies need to find someone to fill his spot if they can't re-sign him / Elsa/GettyImages
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Shohei Ohtani

Definitely the cream of the crop, Shohei Ohtani would be the jackpot prize for the Phillies, in addition to the numerous other teams that will be in pursuit of the two-way star this upcoming offseason. Not only would Ohtani be able to take over as the ballclub’s new ace, but he would also provide an added boost to the already-powerful Phillies’ lineup and make the offense nearly unstoppable.

In 2023 as a pitcher, Ohtani went a solid 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, giving up 46 earned runs, 55 walks and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings pitched. As a hitter, he posted his usual MVP-like numbers with a .304 batting average, and a 1.066 OPS, along with 102 runs scored, 44 home runs, 95 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

However, things could get a little more complicated with his recent elbow surgery. It's believed he'll be able to hit again by Opening Day in 2024, but potentially won’t be able to pitch until 2025.

If the Phillies can’t afford to wait an entire year for Ohtani’s pitching to fill the void left by Nola, it may be wise for them to turn to some of the other available options.

Lucas Giolito

Lucas Giolito was actually one of the most highly coveted pitchers at the trade deadline this season, with the Los Angeles Angels being the lucky ones to obtain his services.

However, he struggled mightily in his short tenure with the ballclub by posting a horrific 1-5 record with a 6.89 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, giving up 24 earned runs, including 11 home runs in just 30 2/3 innings pitched. In doing so, the Angels ultimately fell out of playoff contention and Giolito wound up being put on waivers.

However, prior to being traded to the Angels, Giolito was actually having a fine season with the Chicago White Sox with an ERA constantly below four and a strikeout rate close to 10 batters per nine innings. He had maintained such numbers in three of the previous four seasons with the White Sox, so he has proven to be a reliable and consistent starting pitcher in the past. Therefore, the Phillies could potentially take a flyer on Giolito as one of their rotation options.