The Phillies have a longstanding tradition of doing all they can to avoid arbitration. With that in mind, they signed eight of their nine arbitration eligible players to deals for the 2019 season, with Aaron Nola being the lone holdout. The two sides will go to arbitration over the contract if they do not reach an agreement prior to the scheduled hearing which would be some time in February.
The two sides exchanged figures on Friday and are far apart, with the Phillies offering up $4.5-million for a one-year deal covering the 2019 season and Nola requesting $6.75-million. Nola, 25, was paid $573-thousand last season which turned out to be a breakout year for the right-hander. Nola finished third in Cy Young voting thanks to a 2.37 ERA, the lowest of his career and a 17-6 record. Nola made 33 starts and threw 212 1/3 innings for the Phillies, striking out 224 hitters while walking just 58.
On Thursday, the Phillies signed Hector Neris and Jerad Eickhoff to one-year deals to avoid arbitration and signed six other players on Friday. Infielders Cesar Hernandez ($7.75-million) and Maikel Franco ($5.2-million) received the highest paydays. Starter Vince Velasquez received $2.49-million and relievers Jose Alvarez and Adam Morgan agreed to deals worth $1.925-million and $1.1-million respectively. Outfielder Aaron Altherr agreed with the Phillies on a one-year, $1.35-million deal.
While Nola’s request isn’t completely out of whack, it should be noted that the only pitcher to get more than $6-million in their first year of arbitration eligibility was Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, who was coming off winning a Cy Young Award prior to heading to arbitration.