The Philadelphia Phillies made their first big splash in free agency on Sunday, agreeing to a seven-year extension with dependable starter Aaron Nola. With one of their top arms now locked down on a massive $172 million deal, some are wondering if that investment will leave the team mostly tapped out for the rest of this winter.
However, that doesn't appear to be the case.
Patrick Gordon of the Philadelphia Baseball Review reports the Nola signing "does not preclude" the Phillies from pursuing other big names on the market like NPB pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Gordon adds that the team "is also considering a potential extension" with top arm Zack Wheeler.
For anyone worried that Philadelphia will take its foot off the gas this offseason following the Nola deal, this provides some serious reason for optimism. It appears Dave Dombrowski has clearance to be as aggressive as possible to improve this ballclub, which is exactly what fans want to hear considering the obvious championship potential of this roster.
The 2023 postseason showed how pitching can lead to championships, with Jordan Montgomery and Nate Eovaldi spearheading the Texas Rangers' run to the World Series. Forming a legit Big 3 in Wheeler, Nola and someone like Montgomery (who's a current free agent) or Yamamoto would make Philadelphia's chances of winning a ring even better for 2024.
The team's bullpen is the other major area that needs addressing this offseason, and there are several players who could bolster that group. With a Nola deal not ruling out top-end starters, it seems safe to assume inking a top reliever is definitely in the cards as well.
The Nola domino falling is sure to get the ball rolling on other marquee free-agent deals this offseason. Hopefully the Phillies end up snagging at least one more high-impact pitcher when it's all said and done.
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