HomeOther Philly SportsReportedly, the Orioles and Blue Jays expressed interest in Aaron Nola, according...

Reportedly, the Orioles and Blue Jays expressed interest in Aaron Nola, according to Phillies Nation.

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Aaron Nola re-signed with the Phillies for seven years, $172 million. (Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

The Phillies beat out several suitors in re-signing Aaron Nola to his seven-year, $172 million contract, and you can add two more teams to the list of clubs who reportedly had interest in the righty: the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, according to Sportsnet‘s Ben Nicholson-Smith and ESPN‘s Jeff Passan, respectively.

The Orioles’ interest can be viewed through a couple different lenses. On one hand, perhaps it indicates a newfound willingness to invest on big-ticket free agents by a Peter and John Angelos-led ownership group that seldom does so. The Orioles had the third-lowest payroll in MLB this year, according to Spotrac, and the young core that won 101 games figures to make the team competitive for years to come. If there was ever a time to spend — especially in the pitching department, where the Orioles struggled last year — it’s now.

The cynical view holds that perhaps the Orioles weren’t ever that serious in the Nola sweepstakes in the first place, given their stingy track record. Anyone doubting Baltimore’s willingness to pay up on a pitcher like Nola is certainly justified in doing so, until the team demonstrates otherwise. But Nola was one of the top arms in the current free-agent class, and his market was awfully competitive — so the Orioles’ interest might indicate somewhat of a shift in perspective from the ownership standpoint, however slight.

The Blue Jays, who drafted Nola out of high school in 2011 before he went to LSU instead, would’ve been an interesting landing spot. Nicholson-Smith wrote that the Jays aren’t among the teams most desperate for starting pitching, with a rotation already featuring Kevin Gausman, José Berríos, Yusei Kikuchi and Chris Bassitt. But perhaps Nola could’ve been among the missing pieces to help Toronto get over the hump, with its own talented core losing in the AL Wild Card Series three of the past four seasons (and missing the postseason in the other).

Passan also reports that the Cincinnati Reds “dabbled in the Nola negotiations,” pointing out that none of their returning starters has ever thrown 150 innings — something Nola has done every full season beginning in 2017. However, Passan said that like the Orioles, a trade perhaps makes more sense for the Reds.

Nola reportedly turned down more money — either in AAV or total contract value — from other clubs to stay in Philadelphia. It doesn’t sound like the Reds, Orioles or Blue Jays were one of them, but regardless, their curiosity only underscores the widespread interest that Nola generated around the league before returning to the only organization he’s ever known.






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