Perspective: The Nationals should push for Aaron Nola this offseason.
The Nationals ownership should just put their money where their mouth is and sign a Jayson Werth equivalent from the free agent starting pitching pool this offseason.
As the World Series commences, the Washington Nationals aim to make a return to the Fall Classic. However, before the team can achieve that, they must enhance their pitching rotation and acquire a seasoned arm to mentor the young pitchers on their path to greatness. Aaron Nola could be the missing piece in this equation.
This is the primary reason the Nationals and the Lerners should be willing to open their checkbooks and issue the necessary funds. Yet, there are numerous other compelling reasons for Nola to be a perfect addition to the Nationals.
Over his nine years with the Phillies, Nola has a win-loss record of 90-71 that’s a winning percentage of .559%, and a 3.72 ERA. During this past season, Nola had 12 wins only nine losses, and an ERA of 4.46 over the 32 games he started.
Over his nine-year tenure with the Phillies, Nola has amassed a win-loss record of 90-71, resulting in a winning percentage of 55.9% and a 3.72 ERA. In the most recent season, Nola secured 12 wins against only nine losses, with an ERA of 4.46 over the 32 games he started.
During his last two postseason appearances, Nola recorded a 5-3 record with an ERA of 3.70. He tallied 50 strikeouts while walking only nine batters. Nola has started on five consecutive opening days during his time with the Phillies, further solidifying his credentials.
In essence, Aaron Nola is a bona fide number-one pitcher and is likely to be the top starting pitcher in the free-agent market. So, why should the Nationals remain passive observers?
Another crucial reason the Nationals should actively pursue the 30-year-old right-handed pitcher is his experience in enduring a rebuilding phase, which could be invaluable for the young Nationals' pitching staff.
In the previous season, the Washington Nationals' pitching rotation culminated with a combined ERA of 5.02, ranking them in 6th place for the worst in the Major Leagues. Given the emphasis that Rizzo places on starting pitching, it makes sense to seek a proven ace once more.
However, the matter of finances arises. Aaron Nola recently concluded a four-year, $45,000,000 contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, inclusive of a $2,000,000 signing bonus and $45,000,000 in guaranteed compensation, with an annual average salary of $11,250,000.
Securing this deal will necessitate the Nationals to be financially committed. A pivotal element in this discussion revolves around whether the Phillies will extend a qualifying offer to Nola, an action many anticipate they will undertake. This offer is expected to be approximately $20.5 million for the year.
The pertinent question here is whether the Nationals are willing to forfeit their second-highest draft pick from the previous year's draft, which, as Talk Nats notes, would also result in a $500,000 deduction from their bonus pool for the next international signing period. The answer, in all likelihood, is negative.
The Nationals' ownership should heed the advice of another Nationals blog, which implores them to "back up their words with action and sign an ace from the free-agent starting pitching pool this offseason."
Signing Nola would provide Manager Martinez with the necessary tools to construct the best starting rotation since 2019. With some fortune, the playoffs won't just be a topic of conversation, but a reality capable of surprising the baseball world.
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