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Yankees avoid arbitration with Ivan Nova

The Yankees and their right-hander settle on a deal for his last year of team control.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

We're coming to the last month before pitchers and catchers report, so teams are trying to nail down those arbitration settlements before camp begins. According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees have avoided arbitration with Ivan Nova, and they'll pay him $4.1 million this season. Aroldis Chapman is the only one remaining. That's a fair agreement considering the initial demands of both sides: Nova originally asked for $4.6 million, the Yankees countered with $3.8 million, and they finally agreed at the above number, despite MLB Trade Rumor's projection at $4.4 million.

This is the final year before Nova hits free agency, and it's an important season for him. After losing almost all of 2014 to Tommy John surgery, he came back on June 24th of this past year, putting up an unimpressive 125 ERA- and 117 FIP- in 94 innings. His strikeout rate went down from 2013, as did his walk rate, but his velocity rebounded, and his hard hit percentage didn't spike. His performance still wasn't great, but that's something.

Now the question will be which Ivan Nova the team will get in 2016. Will it be the 2011/2013 Ivan Nova, who put up 4.8 fWAR in 304.2 innings, or the 2012/2015 Ivan Nova, who was worth 2.0 fWAR in 264.1 innings? Who knows. He'll also have to work for that fifth starter spot out of spring training, as it looks like barring injury, that spot could belong to CC Sabathia. I do imagine he'll get a decent amount of starts this year because of the questionable nature of the rotation as a whole, but it certainly helps to get some out of the gate, especially if you're trying to build up value for free agency. Here's to (hopefully) one more year of Good Nova.