Aaron Nola
Extending Aaron Nola was the best move of the entire offseason (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Sometimes the best move you can make as a general manager is to keep a great player that you have rather than add another great player. The Philadelphia Phillies did exactly that today. The Phillies agreed to an extension with Nola that is worth $45 million over 4 years. That also includes a club option. Ken Rosenthal reported the details. This extension by the Phillies wasn’t just brilliant. It was the best move made by any team during the entire offseason. Matt Klentak’s up and down offseason took a turn for the better today.

Does anyone understand how good Aaron Nola is? According to WAR, Aaron Nola was the second best player in the sport behind Mookie Betts. Nola recorded a WAR of 10.5. That essentially means the Phillies would have won 69 games instead of 80 without Nola. That’s an incredible value. Nola went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA in 33 starts in 2018. He also pitched 212.1 innings, 224 strikeouts, and a WHIP of .975. The guy was unhittable all year. He’s also just entering the prime of his career at 26.

Credit to the Phillies for pulling off this deal. Philadelphia essentially bought out two years of Nola’s free agency. Two years that probably would have paid him a fortune as one of the top 5 starting pitchers in the sport. Nola is a great asset for any team. He has a four-pitch mix of a 4-seam fastball, curveball, changeup, and sinker. Nola doesn’t have elite velocity but he has great pitch location and his curveball cannot be touched.

Nola held right-handed hitters to a .207 average. What’s crazier is that he held lefties to a .187 average as a right-handed starter. It’s because his off-speed stuff is that nasty. Nola will age well because of that. Nola represents what is the most important asset in all of baseball. An ace at the top of the rotation that stabilizes the rest of the staff. When Nola pitches, you always feel like the Phillies will win that day. That’s the best feeling in baseball.

Today is a great day for the Phillies organization. Now every fan should hope that they don’t ruin a great financial move by adding a disastrous Bryce Harper contract to the books. Philadelphia should be saving every penny for Mike Trout in two years.