The Pittsburgh Pirates swung a deal at the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline, bringing in Nova from the New York Yankees

Pittsburgh Pirates fans sat patiently as other teams consummated deals for starting pitchers. Their patience was rewarded as the team acquired RHP Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees.

Nova’s Career-to-Date


2010 4.50 7 42.0 44 22 21 4 17 26 1.452 9.4 0.9 3.6 5.6 1.53
2011 3.70 27 165.1 163 74 68 13 57 98 1.331 8.9 0.7 3.1 5.3 1.72
2012 5.02 28 170.1 194 100 95 28 56 153 1.468 10.3 1.5 3.0 8.1 2.73
2013 3.10 20 139.1 135 49 48 9 44 116 1.285 8.7 0.6 2.8 7.5 2.64
2014 8.27 4 20.2 32 19 19 6 6 12 1.839 13.9 2.6 2.6 5.2 2.00
2015 5.07 17 94.0 99 54 53 13 33 63 1.404 9.5 1.2 3.2 6.0 1.91
2016 4.90 15 97.1 107 54 53 19 25 75 1.356 9.9 1.8 2.3 6.9 3.00
7 Yrs 4.41 118 729.0 774 372 357 92 238 543 1.388 9.6 1.1 2.9 6.7 2.28
162 Game Avg. 4.41 32 199 211 102 97 25 65 148 1.388 9.6 1.1 2.9 6.7 2.28
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 8/1/2016.


We previously highlighted Nova as part of our Trademas In July series. You can catch up on that post HERE. For now, here are both sides of the coin on Nova:

The Case for Nova:

  • The biggest argument to be made for going after Nova would be that he’d come cheap. Yes, the Yankees did get big returns for both Chapman and Miller. But Nova isn’t close to being on the level of those two, and there are plenty of better starting pitching options out there, even in a poor starting pitching market. The Pirates and Yankees have matched up as trade partners in the past, and could again in this situation. Maybe a middle-tier prospect could get the job done, and he’d be an improvement over Francisco Liriano or Jeff Locke as starting options.
  • There are a few signs that Nova could be better with the Pirates. His BB/9 of 2.3 is the lowest of his career, and his K/9 rate of 6.9 is the highest it’s been since 2013. He’d also be moving from the AL to the NL, which should help him some. His FIP of 5.09 isn’t ideal, and maybe he doesn’t improve much in the NL, but it’s hard to be worse than the Pirates back-end. Heck, maybe Nova gets some incentive pitching for a team in the playoff chase while also pitching in a contract year. He could be set to get a decent contract in a poor starting pitching free agent market this off-season if he turns it on after the deadline, like Happ did with the Pirates last season.

The Case against Nova:

  • Nova isn’t a very good pitcher right now. He’d be the cheap option, and there’s a reason why. His FIP of 5.09 is the worst of his career, and what difference would he really make for the Pirates in the stretch run? Sure, he’d be an improvement to the staff, but the addition could be an addition in name alone. There are plenty of better options out there if the Pirates truly want to improve their rotation.
  • Nova is an erratic pitcher, so you don’t know what you’re going to get from him from start to start. In May, he had an ERA of 3.52, but in July he had an ERA of 7.52. He’ll go three or four starts in a row allowing one run or less, then go three or four starts in a row allowing four runs or more. If the Pirates are going to improve their rotation, they need to target a proven, consistent starter, one that will be a clear upgrade to the rotation, even if it means giving up a bit more to get him.

What the Pittsburgh Pirates Gave Up


We are currently awaiting word on the package sent to the Yankees. We will update this post when that information becomes available.

Featured Photo Credit – Keith Allison


Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)