Welcome back, Nols: A tribute to the first chapter of Aaron Nola's Phillies career

As he heads into Year 10 in the big leagues, Nola remains the Phillies' longest-tenured player.

Aaron Nola re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Nola re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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Nine years. Two-hundred and thirty-five starts. A future induction into the Phillies Wall of Fame. And seven more years to build his legacy in the city of Philadelphia.

The Aaron Nola era isn't over yet. The right-handed pitcher, who has spent a decade in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, has agreed to a seven-year, $172 million deal and passed his physical, according to Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Nola left money on the table from other teams in order to continue his career with the only organization he's known:

The 30-year-old was drafted seventh overall by the Phillies in 2014 out of LSU. After making 11 starts in 2014 between Single-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, he amassed 18 starts with Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley before being called up to the big leagues in 2015.  

At 22 years old, Nola made his much-anticipated MLB debut on July 21, 2015. In the 88-pitch outing, he struck out six and only gave up one earned run in six innings. 

That year, the Phillies finished last in MLB with a record of 63-99. The next two years weren't much better, with the team posting 71 and 66 wins, before the Phillies eventually found themselves hitting the 80-win mark consistently.

During each of his first six years in the league, the Phillies finished .500 or worse. Overall, he has endured rebuilds, numerous personnel changes, a revolving door of teammates, four managers and five pitching coaches during his time in Philadelphia.

He came into the league at a time when the Phillies were preparing to ship beloved ace Cole Hamels out of town later that same month, burdened with the lofty expectations to become the ace of the future for the team.

He was up to the challenge.

As he prepared to make his major league debut, teammates and fans alike were in awe of the young pitcher. Then-catcher Cameron Rupp told Bill Evans of NJ.com: "It was packed around the bullpen right before the game and when he threw his last pitch they went nuts. Everybody's behind him, everybody's excited. We should be."

Through all of the chaos, the workhorse took the mound every five days and gave the fans something to look forward to as the rebuilding years were underway and optimism for the team's outlook was hard to maintain.

And to this point, he has put together one of the best pitching careers in Phillies history behind an elite curveball.

In nine seasons, Nola has a 90-71 record and 3.72 ERA in 1,422 innings. He has proved to be durable for the team, especially over the past three seasons. From 2021 through 2023, Nola pitched the third-most innings, according to FanGraphs, logging 579 1/3 innings.

According to Baseball Reference, as things stand now, he ranks in the top 10 of numerous pitching categories in Philadelphia history, including WAR (32.0, seventh), WHIP (1.129, ninth), hits per nine innings (7.81, tied for sixth-lowest), strikeouts per nine innings (10.013, first), punchouts (1,582, fifth) and starts (235, seventh).

NEXT: Nola carries the Phillies back to the postseason