2. TARGET: Aaron Nola
Nola checks a lot of boxes for Boston. Performed well in a big market? Check. Postseason experience? Check. Healthy, durable and still fairly young? Check, check and check.
Similar to Urias, Nola saw his numbers take a hit in 2023, but he was still pretty good, finishing with 2.2 WAR (Baseball-Reference version) after going 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, a 4.5 K/BB ratio, a 4.03 FIP and 202 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings.
For Nola, his greatest attributes are his durability and his command. He’s made at least 30 starts in each of the last five full seasons (excluding 2020), so he’s someone you can rely on to take the ball every fifth day. He also pitches deep into games and eats up innings, which the Red Sox desperately need after running their bullpen into the ground this season.
Nola also throws strikes and isn’t afraid to attack hitters. He posted the lowest walk rate in the National League last year and routinely strikes out more than a batter per inning, so his peripherals are outstanding and support continued success.
It’s a plus that he comes from Philadelphia, too, which is a very similar market to Boston. Nola has thrived in an intense environment and won’t be scared away by rabid Red Sox fans, who sometimes appear tame in comparison to Phillies fans (especially lately).
Nola turned 30 this season, so he’s not too old, either. Sign him up!