2023-24 MLB free agency and trade grades: Aaron Nola to the Phillies and more - ESPN
The 2023-24 MLB offseason has begun, and we've got you covered with grades and analysis for every major signing and trade this winter.
Whether it's a nine-figure free agent deal that changes the course of your team's future — like where Shohei Ohtani will sign — or a blockbuster trade that has all of baseball buzzing, we'll weigh in with what it all means — for next season and beyond.
Follow along as our experts evaluate each move, starting with Aaron Nola's return to the Philadelphia Phillies. This piece will continue to be updated, so check back in for the freshest analysis from the beginning of the hot stove season through the start of spring training.
Key links: MLB free agency tracker
The deal: Seven-year, $172 million contract
There has been a lot more smoke than fire in the new offseason, with most of the early moves falling under the umbrella of CBA-motivated fine print. On Sunday the first real domino of the free agent landscape fell, and while the Philadelphia Phillies stepping up to retain rotation stalwart Aaron Nola doesn't do much to change the competitive landscape, it keeps the Phillies on the heels of the Braves in the NL East (and since Atlanta was the main competition for Nola's signing, that's no small feat). More importantly, now that Dave Dombrowski doesn't have to worry about plugging a key rotation hole, he can shift his attention to perfecting the roster of a team trying to take that last step or two toward a championship.
Only Gerrit Cole has thrown more innings since the start of the 2018 season. As Nola progresses into his 30s, that's a comforting level of durability. Indeed, over that time the Phillies have always been able to count on Nola taking his turn in the rotation, week