When the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired free agent to be Ivan Nova on August 1st his free agent stock was not very high. However, due to his performance since coming to the Pirates that has changed.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates traded for Ivan Nova on August 1st many people were skeptical about the trade. I was one of those who were skeptical. And those of us that were skeptical had good reason to be.
Prior to being traded to the Pirates Ivan Nova had pitched 97 1/3 innings for the New York Yankees in 2016. In those 97 1/3 innings Nova had allowed an American League worst 19 home runs, he had a 4.90 ERA, and a 5.10 FIP. In fact, Nova had not been a good pitcher since 2013.
But like so many pitchers before him, something has clicked for Ivan Nova since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nova has made seven starts for the Pirates and in these seven starts he has pitched 46 1/3 innings. This includes Nova pitching a pair of complete games.
As a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates Ivan Nova has walked just two batters, he’s allowed just four home runs, and he has a 50.4 percent ground ball rate. All of this has resulted in Nova owning a 2.53 ERA, 3.09 FIP, and a 3.42 xFIP as a member of the Pirates. And the Bucs are 6-1 in Nova’s seven starts.
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It goes without saying that Ivan Nova’s free agent value has skyrocketed in the past month. At one point it appeared Nova would have to settle for a one-year deal with a team in an effort to try and rebuild his value. However, it now appears he will be one of the most highly sought after pitchers on the open market.
Working in Ivan Nova’s favor is that when the 2017 season starts he will still be just 30 years old. Due to this I would be willing to bet some team will go at least three, if not four years on a deal for Nova. Just look at former Pirate reclamation fix J.A. Happ who at the age of 33 got a three-year deal this past offseason.
Speaking of Happ, his performance with the Toronto Blue Jays this season should help Nova on the open market. In 164 1/3 innings pitched for Toronto Happ owns a 3.34 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and a 2.8 WAR. This could help ease any fears teams may have that what Nova is doing with the Pirates is either a fluke, or can not be continued with the help of Ray Searage. The success Edinson Volquez has had in Kansas City should help Nova as well.
I would love to see the Pirates re-sign Ivan Nova this offseason. And while I do not think it is impossible, I do believe it is unlike. And it is not just due to his performance. The free agent pitching class this offseason plays a large role in it as well.
Due to the way he has performed for the Pirates a strong argument can be made that Ivan Nova will be the best starting pitcher available on the free agent market. Other than Nova the only starting pitchers that will be available that have not sucked in 2016 are Doug Fister, 43 year-old Bartolo Colon, and 37 year-old Rich Hill who can not stay healthy. Due to how weak this class is, I expect Ivan Nova to get paid generously.
Teams will always pay for starting pitching. Especially teams that are desperate for starting pitching. Some team that is desperate for starting pitching will throw a big contract at Ivan Nova this offseason. Due to this, I, unfortunately, do not think the Pirates will re-sign him.