Pittsburgh Pirates News: Ivan Nova Signs
The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Ivan Nova back into the black and gold. The right hander will join Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Chad Kuhl in the Pirates rotation.
According to Robert Murray of Fanragsports, the Pirates and Ivan Nova signed for a three-year deal worth $26 million, featuring a $2 million signing bonus. After an offseason which featured little to no talk on Nova, the Pirates making being able to sign him is no surprise. The surprise, given the market and what have others have gotten, is the little price. An annual average value of $8 million.
Ivan Nova was not the name many acquired, having a 4.90 ERA and 5.10 FIP in 97.1 innings, 15 starts and 21 games. But the Pirates did target him for a reason, likely the ground ball rate of 54.3 percent, and his unsustainable 4.5 percent home run rate.
Nova also brought good control, having just a walk rate of 5.9 percent. He had good control, good ground ball rates, and a home run rate that would shrink. Neal Huntington pulled the trigger, and only gave up Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley.
In Pittsburgh, Nova blossomed. He pitched 64.2 innings with a 3.02 ERA and 2.62 FIP in 11 starts. Nova brought his home run rate down to a reasonable 1.5 percent. He kept his ground ball rate up, getting the ball on the ground 52.3 percent of the time. His control, impossible to repeat, was incredible. Nova walked just 1.1 percent of the batters he faced, a strikeout to walk ratio of 17.33.
With Nova back with the Pirates, he’ll be back with Francisco Cervelli, a very good pitch framer, which should help with Nova maintaining some of his success with control. It also gives the Pirates their number three starter in a rotation, and with a low annual average, the Pirates can still add to the roster.
Next: Pirates Have Worked Hard To Get Quintana
Ken Rosenthal mentions that the Pirates are still trying to acquire Jose Quintana, even with signing Nova. Adding Quintana to the mix of Cole, Taillon, and Nova would provide a solid foundation for the starting rotation, with Chad Kuhl in the backend.
Whatever the Pirates do the next three seasons in terms of moves, trading McCutchen still likely seems to be one of them, the team would appear to not be in a mini rebuild mode. With the addition of Nova, the Pirates have a steady top three of the rotation for at least the next three years.
*Numbers from fangraphs