Aaron Nola is a pitcher that we know all too well. He has been with the club since being drafted in the 2014 MLB Draft as the seventh overall pick. Nola has developed into the first ace-caliber starting pitcher since Cole Hamels. Like him or not, the statistics back up that he can pitch like a high-end number two starting pitcher.
His 2023 season and 2023 postseason, statistically on the surface, present that Nola can perform in the moments that warrant the type of payday that he is up for. In the 2023 regular season, Nola had a trying year. The Louisiana native posted a 12-9 record with a 4.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 202 strikeouts, and 32 home runs allowed in 193 2/3 innings over 32 starts.
The postseason was a different story as we saw a more confident and aggressive Aaron Nola. This proved for him to be more successful and valuable in October. Nola was 3-1 in four starts with a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings pitched in the playoffs. Maintaining a constant of this Phillies organization and pitching staff, as well as a pretty good pitcher, wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
Josh Hader is one of the premier relievers in Major League Baseball. The tall left-hander has always had amazing stuff that has made him such an elite relief pitcher. Hader mixes his fastball and slider combination to shut down hitters and seal off wins for his club.
Hader’s 2023 campaign was great for the San Diego Padres. He recorded a 2-3 record with a 1.28 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings over 61 appearances.
Hader has been in the MLB since 2017 and is entering free agency for the first time. The Phillies could look into signing Hader to add another devastating arm to their good bullpen. If there’s one thing the Phillies learned this past postseason on the pitching side of things is to have more reliable relievers with more consistent stuff to get big-league hitters out.
The acquisition of Hader would bring that and then some to the Phillies’ bullpen. Teaming Hader with big arms like José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Domínguez, Gregory Soto, and Orion Kerking would give the Phillies one of the best bullpens in baseball.
Hader has postseason experience as well. In his career, Hader has appeared in 16 games, posting a 0-2 record with a 1.37 ERA, three holds, and five saves over 19 2/3 innings pitched. Hader’s devastating two-pitch combination is lethal as a late-game, high-leverage option. Something that the Phillies were lacking in the past postseason run and was arguably the difference in elimination and making the World Series.