New York already traded relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs, Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians and Carlos Beltran to the Texas Rangers, per Yankees PR. New York enters sell mode and is now building toward the future rather than pursuing the playoffs from fourth place in the American League East.
As for Nova, the 2016 campaign is his first full one since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014. He did pitch last year but didn’t make his first appearance until June.
Nova struggled some in recent seasons with an 8.27 ERA in four starts in 2014 and a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts last year. His numbers are pedestrian again in 2016, although they are slightly misleading because he struggled so much in June. According to ESPN.com, Nova posted a 7.52 ERA in five June starts and failed to pitch more than five innings in his last three appearances.
|Ivan Nova's Career Stats|
Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors pointed out that “home runs have long been a problem for Nova, but he’s seen his homer-to-fly ball ratio spike to nearly 21 percent this season, which is almost certain to regress moving forward. Escaping the homer-happy confines of Yankee Stadium certainly wouldn’t hurt, in that regard.”
The 29-year-old Nova has allowed 19 home runs this year, but if that regression does come outside of Yankee Stadium, his new team will receive a more effective pitcher down the stretch.
What’s more, Adams noted that Nova came at “a fairly affordable price.” Spotrac indicates that he'll make $4.1 million in 2016, part of which the Yankees have already paid.
Nova doesn’t bring much star power to the table, but he did flash his overall potential in 2013—which was the last time he made 20 starts. A replication of his 3.10 ERA would fit in any rotation, and Pittsburgh will look for him to pitch at that type of high level following this trade.
Nova is likely never going to be an ace, but he should provide quality innings at a reasonable cost for his new team as it chases a possible playoff berth.
Unless otherwise noted, trade information courtesy of the Yankees' PR Twitter account.