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Yankees 2017 Potential Free Agent Target: Ivan Nova

Should the Yankees bring Nova back?

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As things heat up at the winter meetings, the Yankees have already added a designated hitter, and are aggressively pursuing Aroldis Chapman (and Kenley Jansen). Yet no matter how you slice it, the Yankees could still use help in the form of starting pitching. Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda are the only locks in the rotation right now, though Luis Severino could take the fourth spot. The Yankees could choose between the likes of Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and possibly Adam Warren to fill in the last spot in the rotation, but Brian Cashman should definitely be seeking some sort of external option, as well.

It has already been stated a number of times, but this free agent class is not very good. Somehow Rich Hill was the best starting pitcher on the market, and he’s already signed with the Dodgers. Oddly enough, that leaves Ivan Nova as one of the best starters still available. Should the Yankees consider a reunion?

2016 Statistics: 162 IP, 4.17 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 7.06 K/9, 1.56 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP

Age on Opening Day 2017: 30

Position: Starting pitcher

Nova was signed by the Yankees as an international free agent back in 2004, and worked his way through the farm system until he finally made his MLB debut in 2010. He experienced some highs and lows with the team, including two sub-4.00 ERA seasons (2011 and 2013). Nova appeared to be on the right track following the 2013 season, but his 2014 season came to an early end after he was required to have Tommy John surgery. He did not pitch well after returning in 2015, and had a 4.90 ERA with 1.8 HR/9 with the Yankees in 2016 before he was traded to the Pirates.

Interestingly, Nova showed improvement after the trade. Not only did his ERA drop, but he also gave up less home runs, walked less batters, and recorded more strikeouts. It is certainly possible that the Pirates were able to “fix” Nova in some way, but it is a pretty small sample size (just 64 and two-thirds innings). It is difficult to imagine the Yankees having a reunion with Nova since they already had the Nova experience and seemed willing to trade him for just about anyone at the deadline. It was one thing to have Nova on the team when he was only making a couple million dollars, but he is going to end up with a multi-year deal now and will probably earn a decent amount of money since the market is so weak.

If anything, Nova might be better off staying with the Pirates. They are reportedly seriously pursuing a deal with Nova, and also tried to sign him to an extension before the season ended. Best of luck to him, but hopefully we won’t see him in pinstripes again.