Beginning the 2016 season, Ivan Nova was fighting for a roster spot and earned it by having a decent spring, but he did not make the starting rotation. Eventually over time, the 29-year-old right-handed pitcher was placed back into the rotation. After returning to the staff, it looked like the end for Nova in the Bronx, as his ERA rose up to a high four ERA (4.90).
In addition, his play this season was decent, but he was giving up almost two homers a game (1.8). It was time for a change of scenery for the starter. He was traded at the August first deadline to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two players to be named later. This was low-risk high-reward deal that General Manager Neal Huntington made. The Nova deal looks like a win-win situation for the Pirates, as he has made a resurgence by tossing 31.1 innings for a 4-0 record in five starts. In those five starts, he has posted an incredible 2.87 ERA. Now, he is not a strikeout pitcher, as he only has 22 strike outs for the Pirates (97 total on the year), but he does posses a deadly curveball that helps him set up his fastball. The most strike outs he earned in a regular season was back in 2012 (153).
Interestingly, Nova was in a similar situation like A.J. Burnett, who struggled in New York and was heading for the exit door. Nova pitches now in a park that favors pitchers. His homers per game (1.8) have dropped. A.J. Burnett finished his career as a liked person and was also considered a hero in Pittsburgh. Nova has currently benefited from this trade, as he is about to bank on the upcoming off-season.
Finally, other teams will take his 57-39 career record in mind when looking into him, as it shows he has a winning background history. Whoever lands him will get a reliable back end of the rotation guy. He will throw solid innings and keep teams in the game. Now, his past injury history should be a concern, but that’s the gamble of free agency. His stock has risen, as he improved after being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and I would not be shocked if the Pirates decide to extend him to a three-year deal worth $7 mil to $8 mil a season.