Tag: Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova Re-Signs with Pirates: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced they have re-signed starting pitcher Ivan Nova on a three-year contract on Tuesday.

Robert Murray of FanRag Sports, citing sources, first reported the three-year deal was worth $26 million, with a $2 million signing bonus on Dec. 22. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, citing a source, confirmed Murray’s report and noted the deal is still pending a physical. 

Nova watched his stock drop considerably across his final two-plus seasons with the New York Yankees. With his contract set to expire, the club traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in August, and the move seemed to provide the spark the Dominican Republic native needed.

The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 3.06 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 64.2 innings across 11 starts after the move. It represented a significant improvement after putting up a 4.90 ERA in 21 appearances for the Yankees.

John Perrotto of Today’s Knuckleball noted the veteran starter credited pitching coach Ray Searage and getting away from the bright lights of New York for the turnaround in September.

“He’s a great pitching coach,” Nova said. “We’re having fun here with him. I think that’s one of the keys. It gives me the confidence to go out there and have fun and do the best that you can. We couldn’t always have fun in New York.”

Nova had three complete games during the stretch run with Pittsburgh, which matched his total from his six-plus years with the Yankees. His strong finish also showcased the potential he flashed at times, but never fully capitalized, while in pinstripes.

All told, his overall numbers don’t jump off the page with a 4.30 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 595 strikeouts in 793.2 career innings. He’s in the middle of what’s typically a player’s prime years, however, and it’s reasonable to believe he can still improve in 2017 and beyond.

Staying in Pittsburgh certainly seems like the right decision on the surface. It gives him an opportunity to build off the progress he made during the latter stages of last season and keeps him in a smaller market, which fit his personality well.

It’s also a wise signing for the Pirates. The team still has several question marks in its rotation behind Gerrit Cole, though it hopes Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow and Chad Kuhl can assume more vital roles. Nova can fill a spot in the middle or back of the rotation with the ability to pitch like a No. 2 starter.

Ultimately, it’s no guarantee he’ll parlay his successful finish in 2016 into a breakout season. But it’s a risk worth taking for a team needing pitching depth. 


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Ivan Nova to Pirates: Latest Trade Details, Comments, Reaction

The New York Yankees continued to be sellers on Monday, trading starting pitcher Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Yankees announced they received two players to be named later in exchange for Nova after Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball first reported the deal.

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.

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.

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Ivan Nova Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation on Yankees Pitcher

The New York Yankees are reportedly interested in trading starting pitcher Ivan Nova, according to ESPN The Magazine‘s Buster Olney, who cited rival executives Monday.

Continue for updates.

Nova Next Player to Be Dealt by Yankees

Monday, July 25

After trading closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs on Monday, Nova is now the “next priority” to be traded, according to Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News. 

“They’re focused on him,” a source told Feinsand. “They’re shooting high, but it’s early. … They know what the pitching market looks like right now, and they’re trying to capitalize on that.”

Orioles, Pirates Among Potential Landing Spots for Nova

Monday, July 25

A National League scout told Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media that the Yankees would probably only be able to get back “a mid-level prospect for Nova or a young piece already in the majors who maybe is a super-utility guy who can play infield and outfield,” adding that the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates would be a good fit for the right-hander.

Nova’s Impending Free Agency Hurts Trade Value 

Indeed, because Nova will become a free agent after the 2016 season, it’s unlikely the Yankees will get a significant return for him in a trade, as he may simply be a rental. But for teams that are looking to bolster their rotation, he could be a nice addition as a fourth or fifth starter.

The scout added: “He is who he is. It’s tough counting on him because of how inconsistent he is, but I would like to be on that if the Yankees were thinking of moving Nova because I think he needs a change of scenery. I think he’s a really good fourth starter.”

Nova, 29, has indeed been inconsistent this year. Overall, he’s gone 7-5 with a 4.65 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 93 innings pitched, but he’s been brilliant at times. In his first three starts, he gave up a total of just three runs over 16.1 innings. In his last four starts, he’s given up just seven runs in 23.2 innings. 

In between, he gave up four or more runs in six of his seven starts. In June, he had 7.52 ERA for the month; in July, he’s sporting a 2.66 ERA. Suffice it to say, Nova’s season has been an up-and-down affair. 

The Yankees season has been equally inconsistent, and the team finds itself fourth in the AL East and sixth in the wild-card standings. That has led to speculation that the team may sell before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, which will be fueled by the report that New York dealt closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs on Monday, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

That deal may be the first domino to fall in a pending Yankees fire sale, with players such as Nova potentially following Chapman out of New York.


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Three Bold Predictions for the Remainder of the Yankees Season

The saying in baseball goes, “It, the season, is a marathon, not a sprint.”

It’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen over the course of a major league season. Teams slump, players get injured, and the improbable and impossible are always right around the corner.

With that said, it’s fun to look into the future, especially when it’s the future of a team with as much potential as the New York Yankees. So, with that said, here are three bold predictions for the remainder of the Bronx Bombers’ season. 


All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.com.


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Amid Early 2014 Struggles, Who Is the Real Ivan Nova?

Heading into the 2014 season, Ivan Nova was the least talked-about member of the New York Yankees starting rotation. In this instance, don’t confuse attention for importance in the Bronx.

CC Sabathia entered spring noticeably lighter—in both weight and fastball velocity—Masahiro Tanaka caused a stir every time he stepped on the mound, Hiroki Kuroda faced questions about a poor second half of 2013 and Michael Pineda needed a big spring to secure the No. 5 role in the rotation.

Meanwhile, Nova’s role—somewhere in the middle of New York’s staff—was secure, based on a rock-solid second half of 2013 (13 GS, 2.78 ERA) and excellent spring (19.2 IP, 10.50 SO/BB). At the age of 27, Nova’s career trajectory and ability left him off the back pages in New York, but squarely in the Yankees plans for success in 2014 and beyond.

With two starts under his belt, the Nova of late last summer and spring training 2014 hasn’t made an appearance yet. Despite securing a personal victory in a season-opening series in Houston, Nova left Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles sporting an 8.68 ERA and 2.25 WHIP. 

It’s early and small-sample size numbers can be eye-opening in April, but the real Ivan Nova must soon emerge for a Yankees team depending on a deep and durable starting rotation to make up for question marks across the infield and bullpen.

After getting hit around Yankee Stadium by the powerful Orioles offense, Nova now has over 525 innings of major league service time under his belt. In theory, that should be more than enough to make a determination on the type of arm he has and performer he can become.  

Yet despite ample time to prove himself as a top-tier starter, Nova continues to confound. Until the Yankees can coax a full season of very good performance out of their talented righty, questions will persist.

To be fair, Nova’s 2014 season can’t be judged or outlook changed based on two outings. In fact, positives can be taken out of both seemingly underwhelming performances by Nova through New York’s first eight games. 

In Houston, Nova showed toughness and a knack for generating double-play grounders at opportune times. Without command or feel for his entire arsenal, the game could have easily got out of hand against the hapless Astros. The ability to battle and keep the team in the game—a career-long trait of Nova’s former rotation mate, Andy Pettitte—should be praised more than a high WHIP should be scorned. 

Against the Orioles, shaky infield defense—specifically Derek Jeter’s diminishing range and Yangervis Solarte’s average athleticism—allowed innings to snowball and batted balls to turn into big, game-changing innings. Still, the home run Nova allowed can’t be blamed on anyone but him. The same can be said for a slew of strikes over the middle of the plate. 

Nova’s inability to string together consistent excellence is quickly becoming his hallmark. That, in itself, isn’t particularly troubling. In fact, heading into Tuesday’s start, Nova owned a career ERA+ of 105 across 90 major league outings. Above-average production is valuable, but Nova’s tantalizing moments—including a fourth-place finish in the 2011 AL Rookie of the Year vote—gives hope that he could blossom into more. 

Last season, his month-by-month production was another example of perplexing performance. Across July and August, few pitchers were better. In April, few pitchers were worse. When totaling the 23 appearances, Nova’s ERA+ ranked among the best seasons any 26-year-old Yankee starter has ever posted, per Baseball-Reference (subscription required).  

Despite that, FanGraphs‘ projections systems like Oliver (3.95 ERA, 2.0 WAR), Steamer (4.13 ERA, 2.3 WAR) and ZiPS (3.98 ERA, 2.1 WAR) didn’t peg Nova for anything close to a Cy Young campaign in 2014. Projections and predictions can be taken with a grain of salt or they can be instructive. 

In Nova’s case, the latter probably applies.

Two starts don’t disqualify Nova from excellence for the remainder of 2014, but the prior 83 do suggest unpredictability and variance from outing to outing. If you were banking on Nova emerging into one of the best starters in baseball, it might be time to acknowledge that inconsistency is as much a part of his repertoire as great stuff. 


Agree? Disagree?

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Statistics are from Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. All contract figures courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Roster breakdowns via MLB Depth Charts

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Ranking the Most Important Players for the Yankees in 2014

The New York Yankees will have a very different look to their offense this season.  

With the key additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran in the offseason, this team has promise again.  

Here is a look at the most crucial players for the Yankees going into the 2014 season.  


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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New York Yankees’ Ivan Nova Searches for Consistency in Tonight’s Start

In the Yankees‘ world these days, good health is hardly anything to take for granted. But if we’re willing to live in a fantasy world for a moment and employ ceteris paribus, or hold all things constant with good health, the Yankees have to be pleased with the performance of their top three starting pitchers so far.

If CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda can avoid the injury bug, the Yankees will have a very formidable trio atop their rotation. It’s those other pesky two slots in the starting rotation that are causing manager Joe Girardi and the Bombers’ fans agita these days. 

Between homegrown products Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, the Yankees are in a constant state of wonder and analysis attempting to figure out why their performance varies so greatly from month-to-month and even game-to-game during the course of the season.

In Hughes, the Yankees have a pitcher who seems to fit the description of a fourth or fifth starter reasonably well, particularly in the difficult environs of the American League East. At his best, Hughes is sharp, and can look like a top-of-the-rotation starter.

At his worst and even on average, Hughes can look dismal. His propensity to give up the long ball is well documented and on his bad days, his four-seam fastball is as straight as an arrow. In all likelihood, this is Hughes’ final hurrah in pinstripes.

Hughes has bought himself more room for error due to his longer track record. Even last season, we saw the best and worst of Hughes, but his best is enough reason to believe he’ll rebound from his early poor performances this season and show more of the pitcher we saw for the majority of last summer.

Nova has far less room for error given his track record. Nova arrived in New York in 2010 and has been a member of the starting rotation ever since. It may not seem that way at times, given Nova’s inconsistency and the Yankees’ proclivity to find spare parts and replacements at lightning speed.

Nova has tantalized fans with his pitcher’s frame, high velocity and diverse enough arsenal of pitches to get major league batters out in big spots. He’s pitched some excellent games for the Yankees at times and given his age and positive attitude, he gives just enough reason to believe he’s turning the proverbial corner.

And then THUD, back he falls into mediocrity. It may be a toll the Yankees are simply unwilling to take much longer, perhaps starting as early as tonight. David Phelps is waiting in the wings and at nearly the same age as Nova, has shown more consistency at the big league level, though in far fewer opportunities.

Nova has started 63 games in his big league career and Phelps only 11. But Phelps has shown a calm about him and an ability to throw strikes and have fewer pitches hit out of the yard or even put in play for hits. Phelps’ career batting average against (BAA) is .226 while Nova’s is .273.

Most alarming about Nova is his peculiar variance in statistics from 2011 to 2012. To most, Nova’s huge uptick in strikeouts, over a nearly identical number of starts and innings pitched, would normally mean greater success. 

Actually, the exact opposite in Nova’s case. His ERA jumped by precisely 1.33 last season and he gave up 28 home runs, up from 13 the year before. Nova has to find a rhythm and determine which pitches are most successful against certain hitters. 

Part of that is location and part of that is strategy. Nova needs to add the two together and find the right mix this April. Otherwise, he could be on the outside looking in at the Yankees’ rotation. That is of course, assuming all remains equal with good health.

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Ivan Nova: Is New York Yankee Pitcher a Super Nova or Super Lucky?

Ivan Nova was a revelation for the New York Yankees in 2011. He had a breakout season, finishing 16-4 with a respectable, if not lights out, ERA of 3.70.

One year, however, doesn’t make a career. No one was penciling in Nova for another 16 victories this season until he showed he wasn’t going to be a one-hit wonder.

Nova is on pace to duplicate his first full season in the majors. He is 8-2 and allowed only one run in 15 innings of his last two starts.

Still, the question remains: Is Nova that good or that lucky?

There is no questioning that Yankee bats come alive when Nova is on the mound. The Yankees averaged 5.95 runs in his starts last season, and they are averaging 5.78 runs in his first 12 starts in 2012.

That has helped Nova avoid a few more losses, if not increase his victory total. His ERA is still 4.64 even after his last two starts. His WHIP is 1.41.

Is he a No. 1 or No. 2  starter, or does he give the Yankees one of the best back-of-the-rotation pitchers in the American League?

At this point the jury is still out. Nova has allowed five or more runs in six of his 12 starts, which is not the consistency the Yankees want from him.

On the other hand, he appears to be maturing into more of a strikeout pitcher. He has 69 strikeouts in 77.2 innings this season. He had only 98 in 165.1 innings in 2011.

Run support can be a double-edged sword, of course. Some pitchers lose focus and get sloppy when they have big leads. That isn’t the case for more experienced starters, like CC Sabathia, who is 7-3 with a 3.69 ERA and has gotten better run support than Nova with 5.86 runs per start.

Compare this to Hiroki Kuroda—who has gotten only 3.46 runs per game to work with—Phil Hughes—who has received 4.24 runs per game—and Andy Pettitte, who in a handful of starts has had 4.86 runs scored for him.

Pettitte, who is almost 40, has a 2.81 ERA. This demonstrates how he doesn’t let the score affect his approach on the mound.

Will Nova get better with experience, or is he destined to be only as good as the hitting support he gets?

The next two years should tell the story.

Meanwhile, there have been some pitchers who finished with impressive win-lost records in a given season, but a less-than-impressive ERA.

Let’s look at a random few, some of whom pitched for the Yankees.  

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New York Yankees: Dominant or Not, Ivan Nova Is the Best Starter on the Team

June 3, 2011. That is the last time Ivan Nova lost a game pitching for the New York Yankees. Even on that day, he only gave up two earned runs in six innings pitched.

CC Sabathia is the workhorse, ace and stud of the staff. Hiroki Kuroda is the reliable veteran brought in to eat innings. Michael Pineda is the hot prospect with the 90 97 MPH fastball. But Ivan Nova is the best of the group, and he was only paid a measly $432,900 in 2011.

Although Nova has a sneaky fastball and a sharp curve, he does not employ put-away stuff with the likes of Sabathia or Felix Hernandez. The results, however, are there, and it is because of perseverance.

The easiest argument against Nova is his run support. It ranked as one of the highest in the American League, and Ivan has used it to avoid any losses in the record. The ERA was only 3.70, and it is around the same amount after a solid performance against Boston yesterday afternoon.

These debaters quickly forget that almost half of the Yankees’ regular-season games are against contenders in the American League East. The weakest of them is the Baltimore Orioles, and even they are anchored by a veteran manager in Buck Showalter and a solid cast of rising stars.

Think it’s difficult holding down an ERA under four in the AL East, and the entire American League in general? Ask Jason Marquis, who walked into Yankee Stadium for his first start in the AL and gave up four earned runs in just five innings. Ask Hiroki Kuroda, who is quickly learning that the parks are just a bit smaller on this side of the country.

For Nova, he is able to control the amount of balls that leave the park. In 2011, he gave up 13 home runs. That is just about on par with Sabathia, who gave up 17 in a couple more games started. His WAR stat for the year was a plus-3.6, which is well above the starter threshold of 2.0. If Ivan continues to make strides in his game, he should be able to reach All-Star status by the end of the season.

Most of all, the sophomore pitcher has been able to handle the huge pressure of pitching in a Yankees uniform with relative ease. So far, he has been able to stay quiet and fly under the radar. Many great pitchers were just not the same when put under a microscope. Kenny Rogers and Randy Johnson pop up to mind very quickly.

It is yet to be seen how Nova will deal with increased exposure, but his demeanor suggests that he can take whatever the press throws at him. And if he does that, his future in the major leagues looks very bright.


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New York Yankees: Is Something Wrong with Ivan Nova?

With the start of the season only days away, Ivan Nova doesn’t appear to be getting any stronger for the New York Yankees, if his last outing of spring training is any indication.

So is there something wrong?

Coming into his start against the New York Mets, Nova was 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA. He allowed 15 earned runs in 19.2 innings pitched this spring.

But it didn’t get any better facing the Mets.

Nova went 2.2 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits in his last tune-up before the new year begins. It was easily one of his worst starts of 2012 so far.

Nova’s confidence seemed to take a hit after the beat down, according to Sweeney Murti of WFAN.

“Today was one of the worst days of my life…I felt good today but I couldn’t throw strikes.”–Ivan Nova.

Funny that this comes on the day when Nova was picked by Joe Girardi to be the Yanks No. 4 starter even though he had the worst numbers of any starter on the team. If not for a 16-win season and an injury to Michael Pineda, Nova might be looking at missing out on the rotation.

Don’t be shocked if Nova is the odd man out when Andy Pettitte finally returns. As we all know, nothing is promised when you’re a starting pitcher with the Yankees who isn’t making a lot of money.

Nova’s struggles during the spring are a new thing for the young right-hander. He had a much better spring in 2011 going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and four earned runs in 20 innings pitched.

He had the best numbers of any starter this time last year.

Whatever it may be bugging him, Nova will have time to solve it during the regular season.

Maybe the pressure of a game that means something will help motivate a guy like Nova whose been known to respond well in tough spots.

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