CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – Pitcher Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a $45 million, four-year contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for this week.
The 25-year-old right-hander set career bests last year when he was a first-time All-Star, going 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA. He would have been eligible for free agency after the 2021 season..
“I think Aaron Nola brings a preparation we can all look up to and our other players can emulate,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Wednesday. “I think his between-the-lines competitiveness is off the charts. He’s such a fighter, he’s such a grinder, he’s such a battler.”
Under a deal announced Wednesday, Nola gets a $2 million signing bonus, $4 million this year, $8 million in 2020, $11.75 million in 2021 and $15 million in 2022. Philadelphia has a $16 million team option for 2023 with a $4.25 million buyout.
“He doesn’t want any of the attention, he doesn’t want the spotlight on him,” Kapler said. “He just wants to compete, compete, compete. That’s what he’s done and that’s why he’s one of the two or three best pitchers in the National League over the course of the last couple of years.”
Eligible for arbitration for the first time, Nola had asked for a raise from $573,000 to $6.75 million and the Phillies had offered $4.5 million. Nola is to discuss the deal Thursday.
Among the more than 175 players who were eligible for arbitration this year, Nola is the first to get a deal of more than one guaranteed season. Arizona left-hander T.J. MacFarland and Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina agreed to contracts that included 2020 club options.