Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Thoughts on Ivan Nova Heading Back to Pittsburgh

The New York Yankees traded Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a pair of prospects last summer before the right-hander could hit free agency this winter. With the Yankees starting rotation more of a question mark than ever many wondered if the Yankees would have gone after Nova after trading him much like they did with Aroldis Chapman in hopes of tightening up the rotation while taking some innings off the Yankees bullpen but those hopes and dreams went by the wayside over the weekend as Nova signed a three-year deal with the Pirates to remain in Pittsburgh. The deal was worth $26 million, here are my thoughts on the matter.
In this market, a market that is starved for even inning eating pitchers let alone ace type starting pitchers, as thin as it is for starting pitchers and top-tiered free agents in general you would think Nova would have gotten more than a shade over $8 million annually, no? Maybe that’s just me but even at the back-end of the Yankees rotation an $8 million pitcher who could give you six innings or more every fifth day is a bargain. In Pittsburgh he’s a steal, especially if he pitches for them like he did after the trade in August. 

Nova finished his 2016 season on a 5-2 run in 11 starts with Pittsburgh including a 3.06 ERA and a strong 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA at home inside PNC Park. This was a huge improvement over his 7-6 record and 4.90 ERA with the Yankees in 15 starts last season. Now honestly I don’t expect Nova to be a sub-three ERA type pitcher no matter where he pitches but his control was pinpoint and he finally looked healthy again while pitching in Pittsburgh. There’s something about pitching with a chip on his shoulder that seems to motivate Nova and he looked awfully chippy and awfully motivated last season in Pittsburgh, something the Yankees could have and should have taken full advantage of.

Now maybe I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here and maybe Nova simply wanted to stay in Pittsburgh while giving them a discount. Maybe not. Even at $10 million a year I find Nova to be a bargain for any team, even at the back-end of the starting rotation. The Yankees missed the boat here in my opinion, especially on a three-year deal or less. This won’t be a move that we look back at this time next year and think “man the Yankees would have won the World Series if they made this move” but if they had Nova in their rotation he may have been the difference maker between sitting at home next October and at least winning a Wild Card. And before you flip out at that statement please remember how close they were to winning the Wild Card last year, that’s not the bold statement many people will probably take it as. 


  1. The only boat the Yankees missed on Nova was the Titanic. Nova is terrible and it was time he went and stayed in the JV league where he belongs

  2. Something big coming to the site today... well a big blog post anyway.... stay tuned


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