Aaron Nola agrees to extension with Phillies
The Phillies have been one of the most aggressive teams in baseball this winter — insofar as there have been any aggressive teams in baseball this winter — and they made their biggest move last week in trading for J.T. Realmuto. It seemed likely after they made that move that more money would be spent and more big deals would be made. Well, we are still waiting for that complimentary Bryce Harper/Manny Machado contract, but they have spent some more money on the players they already have. That would be Aaron Nola, who would have been a Cy Young contender last year if Jacob deGrom was human. Nola’s new extension covers four guaranteed seasons with a fifth-year option and is worth $45 million over those first four years with the option being worth $16 million.
There’s a few interesting points here. The first is that the Phillies get an ace locked up through his prime. Nola is about to enter his age-26 season, and this contract will carry him through his age-30 season if that final team option year is picked up. If he pitches like he can for the life of this contract, he’ll still be able to get a solid contract there as well. That being said, he’s certainly leaving money on the table. We talked about this with the Merrifield deal, and while this isn’t totally analogous (Nola was an early first-round pick and is much younger than Merrifield) it’s hard to blame players in these situations. That’s particularly true when they look at the free agent market now and see guys like Harper, Machado and Craig Kimbrel struggling to find anything close to what they feel their worth. These kinds of extensions certainly hurt the players’ cause, but these players also need to take care of themselves. Particularly as a pitcher, it’s hard to look at having at least $45 million guaranteed in your future and saying no.
CC Sabathia to retire after the season
CC Sabathia, one of the regular focuses of Red Sox fans’ ire, is planning to make a big announcement on Saturday. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the big lefty is going to announce his intent to retire after the 2019 season. Sabathia has spent the last ten years with the Yankees, and that’s obviously what most of us will remember him for. His role on that 2009 championship team — his first in pinstripes — was certainly nothing to sneeze at, but what I’ll remember him for most will be how he turned into an entirely new pitcher late in his career. Sabathia looked cooked in 2015, but he came out the next three years and was legitimately outstanding, albeit with a lower workload. The big lefty is a really interesting Hall of Fame case. I think he should make it, as he had a long and successful career but also had a big peak that included a Cy Young win and one of the most memorable late-season runs to help lead the Brewers to the playoffs in 2008. Whatever happens, just don’t bunt against him.
Two more relievers sign
With each passing day it looks more likely the Red Sox are telling the truth about not signing another reliever, and two more came off the board on Wednesday. Both were lefties, too, where the Red Sox may lack some depth. Jake Diekman has been a popular target for some here, and he signed a one-year deal worth $2.25 million with the Royals. Xavier Cedeño, meanwhile, signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth $900K with the Cubs. I don’t know that either of these pitchers are good enough to really get worked up over missing but, well, the lack of action is still a little frustrating.