3 best free agent pitchers not named Shohei Ohtani the Mets should target next winter

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2) NY Mets free agent target next winter: Aaron Nola

Knowing exactly what Aaron Nola will offer the Philadelphia Phillies this year is a superpower. He’s up, he’s down, and then there are those years where he is somewhere in between. Nola is a bulldog, innings eater who doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

Nola’s free agent case will be vastly different from Darvish. He’ll turn 30 in June, setting up for one of the largest contracts of any free agent pitcher next winter. We already know the headlines now. Nola will be looking for a seventh year while teams like the Mets or Phillies want to stop at five, maybe six.

Stealing Nola from Philadelphia would be a big win for the Mets and a victory for their long-term outlook on the mound. There shouldn’t be too much concern about him deflating. Although there have been years where he isn’t in the Cy Young conversation, Nola has been productive and healthy in his career. From 2018-2022, he has made 32+ starts with only the 2020 season and his 12 starts falling short. A dozen starts for a pitcher that year lines up perfectly with the 60 games played.

Steve Cohen’s Mets have yet to steal any players away from their division rivals. If Philly lets him go, Nola is someone to consider on a longer deal. We can’t have the Mets signing aging aces to short-term deals forever.