The D-Backs could greatly use another starting pitcher behind the likes of Merrill Kelly, Zac Gallen, and Brandon Pfaadt. A fourth, quality option could be a major difference maker in the 2024 season and beyond. If the D-Backs want to go after one of the best options, I think Aaron Nola is a near perfect fit.
Nola had a down year for his standards, playing to a 4.46 ERA, 4.03 FIP, and 1.15 WHIP in 193.2 innings. Nola posted a quality 25.5% strikeout rate as well as a 5.7% walk rate, but home runs were his downfall as he allowed 1.49 dingers per nine innings. While this was a down year for Nola, there are positives that point to a better season.
The all-star right-hander had a 3.63 xFIP, 3.75 SIERA, and 83 DRA- (compared to a 101 ERA-). Some of his issues with home runs may also be remedied by leaving Citizens Bank Park. CBP is the fourth most home run friendly park over the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Chase Field has been the fifth least HR friendly ballpark in MLB.
A valuable asset that Nola has is his sturdy workload. Nola has started at least 32 games each season since 2018 (excluding 2020). The fewest innings he has pitched since his breakout campaign in ‘18 is 180.2 frames. Even with his down year in 2023, he still racked up +3.9 fWAR. 2020 marks the only year since ‘18 that he has failed to reach the +3.0 fWAR mark, and that was only because the season was shortened to 60 games.
A rotation headlined by Gallen, Kelly, Nola, and Pfaadt has the potential to be one of the most formidable, but criminally underrated 1-4s in baseball right now. That’s three players who could conceivably receive Cy Young votes next year, and a fourth who has massive breakout potential in 2024.