Philadelphia, PA — Philadelphia Phillies ace starting pitcher Aaron Nola signed a contract extension for four years and $45 million. The contract includes a club option for the 2023 season. In signing the contract he and the Phillies organization avoid the arbitration process. 

The full details of the deal per Jeff Passan of ESPN are a $2 million signing bonus. Then year over year salary jumps from $4 million in 2019 to $15 million in 2022. The club option for 2023 is at $16 million with a $4.25 million buyout. 

It had appeared that Nola and the Phillies were headed to arbitration as recently as a month ago. The team signed all the rest of its arbitration-eligible players to one-year deals but failed to do so with Nola. At the time it seemed likely that they would not come to terms on a multi-year deal. Avoiding the arbitration process, which can be frustrating and bitter on both sides, is a big win for everyone involved. 

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The deal, four years and 45 million dollars, is a coup for the Phillies. Nola emerged as a legitimate ace starting pitcher last year. He finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting, behind Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, despite leading all pitchers in WAR (baseball-reference version). He went 17-6 with 224 strikeouts in 212.1 innings pitched. 

In addition to his terrific year statistically, he became a huge fan favorite in Philadelphia. His starts became must-see television and events in the city as ‘Nola Day’ would be splashed across social media. It cannot be over-stated how important it was that they avoided arbitration. Going into a new season with your best pitcher unhappy is not a great way to start. 

Nola is an ace and one of the best pitchers in the National League. He’s now on a team friendly deal for the next four years just as pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for spring training. He’ll spend his year throwing to newly acquired all-star battery mate J.T. Realmuto in what is the best Phillies pitcher/catcher combo since Doc Halladay and Chooch were enchanting the city with their friendship. 

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned at this time. 

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