Aaron Nola Rumor Links Pitcher to NL Central Team Ahead of Free Agency

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola has been linked to an NL Central team ahead of free agency.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola has been linked to an NL Central team ahead of free agency. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitcher Aaron Nola is squarely focused on helping the Philadelphia Phillies enjoy another long playoff run right now. However, for those not in the postseason, they're already planning ways to improve their clubs for 2024.

With Nola coming off of another productive year and showing up big in the playoffs already, he's going to command plenty of attention as he prepares to hit free agency this winter.

In fact, there's an already a rumor linking an NL Central squad to the righty.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch reports Nola has been "identified" by the Cardinals as a good fit. Goold adds the club "plan[s] to approach to see if the feeling is mutual.”

It's no surprise Nola's name popping up in free agency rumors. The towering 6-foot-2 hurler was a key part of Philadelphia's top-ranked rotation this season, going 12-9 across 32 starts with a 4.46 ERA. Though he turned 30 years old during the campaign, it's clear the former All-Star isn't slowing down anytime soon, making him one of the top starting arms who could become a free agent.

If Nola does hit the market, it'd be no wonder if the Cardinals were interested, even without this report. St. Louis' underwhelming pitching staff, which combined for the seventh-worst ERA in the majors this year while allowing the second-most hits, is in desperate need of some upgrades. In Nola, they'd get a dependable veteran starter who can provide some stability at the top of rotation.

However, there's still a whole postseason to go for Nola and the Phillies, who won't let their starter walk away easily. Philadelphia will have to up its previous offer, though, if the team is to prevent Nola from testing the open market.

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