In the whirlwind of negotiations and rumors surrounding Aaron Nola's future with the Philadelphia Phillies, the dust has settled, and the ink is dry on a historic new deal. A reunion that seemed improbable just weeks ago is now a reality, as Nola cements his status as the highest-paid pitcher in Phillies history with a new seven-year, $172 million contract.

The Phillies managed to navigate the turbulent waters of free agency, resisting the allure of the rival Atlanta Braves, who were rumored to be keen on adding Nola to their starting rotation, according to Jeff Passan. The reported financial demands and contract length threatened to derail the homecoming, but in the end, both parties compromised to ensure Nola remains a crucial part of the Phillies' quest for a long-awaited World Series championship.

The financial details of the deal reveal a carefully orchestrated dance between the player and the team. While the $24.57 million average annual value (AAV) will undoubtedly make an impact on team owner John Middleton's wallet, it represents a commendable compromise compared to the initially rumored $30 million AAV that Nola was pursuing. The negotiation process showcased a willingness from both sides to find common ground, with Nola conceding $5 million in pursuit of yearly earnings for the security of an additional contract year.

Was seven years too long of deal for the Phillies to sign Aaron Nola?

The length of the deal, seven years, raises eyebrows given Nola's current age of 30. Throughout the history of baseball, we've seen how these long-term deals turn badly later into the contract. There's also an absence of player opt-outs and team options, which at least ensures stability for the Phillies throughout the entirety of Nola's contract. However, this commitment is a double-edged sword, providing security for the player while potentially tying up significant financial resources for the team in the latter years of the deal.

Nola will be 37-years-old by the time his contract comes to an end with the Phillies. As his age approaches the upper limits of a typical pitcher's prime, the Phillies will essentially be banking on his experience, skill, and dedication to carry them to the promised land, while his production will realistically drop.

Was Aaron Nola's 2023 good enough to earn him his new contract?

Nola's recent performance, marked by a somewhat challenging 2023 season with an ERA over 4.50, may raise concerns among Phillies fans. However, the Phillies brass appears confident in Nola's ability to rebound and contribute significantly over the life of the contract. The impact of Nola's deal on the team's payroll will likely influence their ability to make further signings, making it crucial for Nola to deliver consistent, high-level performances on the mound.

The Phillies keep Aaron Nola away from the Atlanta Braves, other rivals

The Braves' serious interest in Nola adds an extra layer of significance to this deal. A late surge in the Phillies' offer prevented Nola from donning a Braves uniform, potentially altering the landscape of the NL East. The Phillies' commitment to maintaining their formidable starting rotation duo of Nola and Zack Wheeler underscores their determination to contend for championships in the seasons to come.

Aaron Nola's contract final grade: B+

In the grand scheme of things, considering the circumstances and the competitive landscape, the Phillies' front office deserves some credit for securing Nola's services without succumbing to all his financial demands that could have seen him join a division rival. Although, with Atlanta, that still seems very unlikely given their team-friendly spending. Nevertheless, that can't be overlooked.

With that being said, the grade for this deal lands at a solid B+, reflecting the team's ability to retain a crucial asset while navigating the complexities of modern baseball contracts. The length of the deal given Nola's age, coupled with the lack of team options and the 30-year-olds recent performances is a little concerning, though. Only time will tell if this gamble pays off, but for now, the Phillies have ensured that Aaron Nola remains a cornerstone in their pursuit of a World Series title that has continued to allude them the past two seasons.