Nola's storybook ending is still possible
While it makes for a good story, it's not all that common to see a player start and end their career with the same team with no other pit stops along the way.
Ryan Howard was the last player to spend his whole career with the Phillies, coming into the league in 2004 before playing his final MLB game in 2016 before a couple of failed minor league stints with other teams kept his streak intact for the big leagues. Before him, Mike Schmidt played all 18 years with Philadelphia from 1972 through 1989.
The new contract will take Nola through his age-37 season. Barring any moves along the way, by the time he hits free agency in 2031, he'll be 38 years old. Assuming he stays with the Phillies for the duration of the contract and can remain healthy, there's a real possibility Nola joins that list and retires having only played for the organization that drafted him.
In October, the 30-year-old made it clear he wanted to return to Philadelphia, according to Zach Crizer of Yahoo Sports: "I love it here. Obviously, it's the only place I've been. I came up through some special times in the rebuilding era, and getting to witness and be a part of a lot of different types of teams. To be on a team like I am now, it's really cool and special to see and to be a part of all the success and failures to get to where we are now."
It hasn't always been smooth sailing for the righty. The fans let him hear it when he turns in subpar performances — like they do with every athlete who dons a Phillies uniform — and this past year was more up-and-down than usual, as Nola himself acknowledged.
After having perhaps the best year of his career in 2022, when he finished fourth in Cy Young voting, his stats slid a bit on the way to a 12-9 record, 4.46 ERA and career-high 32 home runs surrendered in the regular season as he dealt with issues with his mechanics and the pitch clock.
However, Nola has embraced the passion of the fans:
With this contract, Nola remains the longest-tenured member of the Phillies. As the team gets ready for the 2024 campaign, Nola has a chance to be named Opening Day starter for the Phillies for the seventh straight year, a role he has held since the start of the 2018 season.
Nola helped bring October baseball back to the city of Philadelphia. He has given the organization, the city, and the fans nine years of memories and has left everything on the mound as he endured the ups and downs of the early years.
Now, the next chapter begins as Nola returns to Philadelphia with the hope of helping the Phillies return to the postseason for the third straight year and of bringing another parade to Broad Street.