The Philadelphia Phillies signed their top free agent starting pitching target, Aaron Nola, bolstering their rotation for another deep postseason run in 2024. Unfortunately, they're not the only team looking for a repeat performance of 2023.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who ousted the Phillies in the National League Championship Series, have shown their intent to return to the World Series by reportedly agreeing to a deal with former Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
Per Jeff Passan, the lefty is signing a four-year deal worth around $80 million, or $20 million per year.
The Phillies were in on the Tigers starter at the Trade Deadline this summer and could have considered him an option to supplement the rotation if they couldn't get Nola re-signed.
Rodriguez pitched to a 3.30 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 2023 with the Tigers. In adding him to their roster, the Diamondbacks' rotation looks like one of the strongest around. They have three top-end starters: Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and now the 30-year-old Rodriguez. Then they follow that up with rookie Brandon Pfaadt, who had his coming out party in the playoffs. Remember that gem he tossed down in the desert in Game 3 of the NLCS?
While the Diamondbacks play in the NL West and aren't a direct division rival to the Phillies like the Atlanta Braves or New York Mets, they now pose another obstacle in the Phillies' quest to make it back to the Fall Classic after bowing out too early this past season. Arizona has quickly gone from the upstart new kids on the block to legitimate contenders, pushed to prominence by NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll.
The Diamondbacks front office and general manager Mike Hazen are making it even harder for the Phillies to regain their 2022 National League crown, signaling their seriousness to compete in 2024 and the coming years. They believe their window to win is open, and unfortunately, it coincides with the Phillies' contending window.