Some red flags started to fly when the Phillies and Aaron Nola appeared headed to arbitration with a difference of $2.25-million between what Nola wanted and what the Phillies were willing to give. Those red flags can now be put away because the two sides have agreed to a four-year deal worth $45-million, carrying a fifth-year team option worth $16-million.
Nola will receive a $2-million signing bonus and be paid $4-million this season, getting him close to the $6.75-million he wanted for 2019. Next season, he’ll receive $8-million, followed by $11.75-million in 2021 and $15-million in 2022. The option can be bought out for $4.25-million. If the Phillies pick up the option year, the deal will wind up being five years and $63-million, including the signing bonus. Nola can earn a little more spending money depending on where he finishes in Cy Young voting. The salary for 2022 and 2023 – provided the Phillies pick up the option for 2023 – gets bumped up by $1-million for every Cy Young that Nola wins, $500-thousand for every time he finishes second in Cy Young voting and $250-thousand every time he finishes third in balloting. The new contract cancels Nola’s scheduled arbitration hearing, which was set to be held tomorrow.
Nola had a breakout season in 2018, finishing third in Cy Young Award voting and making his first All-Star Game appearance. He also finished 15th in the MVP voting. In 33 starts, Nola finished with a 17-6 record and a 2.37 ERA. He set career-highs in wins and marked the lowest ERA of his career, while losing fewer games in any season where he started 20 or more games. He also set career highs in starts, innings (212 1/3), strikeouts (224) and had a career-low WHIP of 0.975.