What does Aaron Nola's qualifying offer rejection mean for the Phillies?

The Phillies' homegrown starter rejected the team's $20 million offer before the Tuesday deadline.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies free agent, has rejected the team's qualifying offer
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies free agent, has rejected the team's qualifying offer / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a move everyone knew was coming, Aaron Nola has rejected the Philadelphia Phillies' one-year, $20.325 million qualifying offer, per MLB Network's Mark Feinsand.

The deadline for free agents to accept or reject the single-year contracts for 2024 was 4 p.m. ET. Now, Nola is back on the open market but with an extra price tag attached for any team that signs him, excluding the Phillies.

Teams that sign a free agent with a qualifying offer tag have to forfeit a pick, or picks, in the next draft as well as international bonus pool money, depending on where they stand in the revenue sharing scheme.

This is helpful for the Phillies. They can re-sign Aaron Nola without any penalization, and if he signs elsewhere they'll receive a compensatory pick in next year's draft. As a Competitive Balance Tax payor, the Phillies would receive a bonus pick in the 2024 Draft after the fourth round has been completed.

Nola could price himself out of the Phillies' range

The Phillies still want to sign Nola and have stated he's their top priority in free agency this offseason. Unfortunately, the 30-year-old's salary expectations may just be too high for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld to pull the trigger on.

According to some baseball salary experts polled by Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Nola could see a significant pay raise to $175 million over five years or $140 million over five years. Heyman himself predicts $168 million over six years. That means the nine-year veteran could see a yearly salary anywhere from $28 million up to $35 million on the high end.

If this is indeed the end of the road for Nola as a Phillie, the righty has been everything the team could have imagined when they drafted him seventh overall in 2014. He'll leave town with a 90-71 record, a 3.72 ERA, and a 33.9 fWAR over his nine seasons in red pinstripes.

The Phillies will look to fill the void left in the starting rotation through trade or a free agent signing, but it'll be tough to replace a guy like Nola on this team. Hopefully, if he does sign elsewhere, it's not a destination that would add insult to injury for Phillies fans.

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