After filing for salary arbitration on Tuesday, Ivan Nova and the Yankees came to an agreement on a new contract without having to go through a messy hearing. The two sides agreed to a $3.3 million contract that matches the amount the right-hander earned in 2014 during his first stint through the process. Nova, of course, only made four starts last year, pitching to an atrocious 8.27 ERA in 20.2 innings, before going down with an injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery, so it makes sense for the Yankees to withhold a raise after a lost season.
Many expect Nova to return from rehab sometime around midseason. The rotation is projected to be Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, and Chris Capuano at the moment, but after David Phelps and Shane Greene were moved, the questionable nature of the starting five means that a healthy and effective Ivan Nova would go a long way for a team hoping to stay in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately, there's no reason to expect him to return and be the dominating pitcher he was at the end of 2013 or even a league-average one. It usually takes about a year and a half for Tommy John surgery survivors to return to something that resembles normal, but we can hope for the best.
Now 28 years old, this is his second time through the arbitration process. He will do it again next year and will then be a free agent after the 2016 season. The Yankees only have to do this three more times after they traded away arbitration eligible players Francisco Cervelli, Shawn Kelley, and David Phelps. In the coming days we should hear about the two sides also coming to terms with Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and David Carpenter, as well.