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November 06, 2023

MLB Rumors: Phillies could go after Blake Snell in place of Aaron Nola

Execs around baseball believe that the Phillies will let Aaron Nola walk and go after Blake Snell instead, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

The Phillies have a loaded, expensive, and veteran roster, and on paper, they have few areas where they can improve this offseason.

But according to an MLB insider, they may have a very key upgrade in mind.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reports that many in baseball expect the Phillies to try and replace free agent Aaron Nola with Cy Young winner Blake Snell.

Wrote Nightengale:

Phillies owner John Middleton, one of the most aggressive owners in the game, wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again and will hit the free agent market. 

He wouldn’t mind bringing back starter Aaron Nola, but they were four years and about $100 million apart in their negotiations last winter, and it’s highly unlikely the gap will completely close. 

GMs believe that the Phillies will let Nola walk, and will turn their attention to Blake Snell, who’s about to win his second Cy Young award. [USA Today]

Nola has reportedly asked for an eight-year contract, which seems a bit too long for the Phillies, even though Nola is 30. He was a first-round draft pick in 2014 and has been an innings eater and near ace for the team for nine seasons now. But the writing on the wall is that the Phillies need more to win a World Series after coming so close in back-to-back seasons. Nola was good early this postseason, but has had back-to-back bad performances in the NLCS.

Snell is a free agent in San Diego and has a lot of options ahead of him. He won a Cy Young award in 2018 with the Rays, and looks like he is the front-runner for the NL award in 2023 after going 14-9 with a 2.25 ERA for the underachieving Padres, who are looking to have a cheaper payroll next season.

Which of these starters would you rather have?

BA against.231.214

Both hurlers are 30 years old. Snell actually allowed less than half as many home runs as Nola did last season (15 to 32) but he also walked more than double the number of hitters (99 to 45). Each pitcher throws in the low to mid-90s. These arms should fetch close to the same dollar amount in free agency. 

Is Snell a clear upgrade for the same price? Is a change of scenery better than consistency?

It will be very interesting to see what direction Middleton and Phillies president Dave Dombrowski choose to go this fall. Free agency in MLB officially started Monday.

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