The Philadelphia Phillies made their first major splash of the offseason on Sunday by locking up Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract extension.
With their ace back for the foreseeable future, the Phillies no longer need to pursue a top starting pitcher to replace him. However, there are still other major moves they need to make to upgrade their roster after falling short in the NLCS last month.
Accordingly, here are three major moves Philadelphia needs to make next after re-signing Nola.
1. Sign Josh Hader
The Phillies got their ace back, but now their next order of business should be replacing their closer.
Craig Kimbrel is a free agent and probably won't be back after his multiple meltdowns during the postseason. Fortunately, Philadelphia has a chance to upgrade this offseason with Josh Hader -- one of the best closers in baseball -- available in free agency.
The Phillies and the Rangers are reportedly the favorites to sign him, but Philly needs to do whatever it takes to reel in the five-time All-Star. Hader is one of the most dominant relievers in the sport, which he proved again last year after posting a 1.28 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 61 appearances for the San Diego Padres.
If the Phillies want to go all the way next year, they need a reliever they can trust to nail down the end of games. As a three-time Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year winner, Hader certainly qualifies. Unlike Kimbrel, he's also been spectacular in the postseason with a 1.37 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 19 2/3 playoff innings.
Signing Hader just makes too much sense for Philadelphia. The 29-year-old southpaw would be a perfect fit for the Phillies and should still have several more productive seasons in front of him, making him a good long-term investment as well.