The Yankees have let other teams know that right-hander Ivan Nova is available in trades, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, the team isn’t keen on selling low on Nova and is rather marketing the 29-year-old as a pitcher in his prime who will be stronger and improved next season when he’s a year further removed from Tommy John surgery.
The market for Nova figures to be something of a mixed bag, but it’s hard to envision a team paying full price considering he’s a year removed from free agency and coming off a season that was cut short by recovery from his aforementioned surgery. Nova logged just 94 innings with an unsightly 5.07 ERA, averaging just 6.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 with a 49 percent ground-ball rate this past season. He did manage a 3.72 ERA through his first 58 innings before perhaps wearing down and yielding four or more runs in four of his final seven outings.
That season certainly didn’t bolster Nova’s trade stock, but teams could look to be opportunistic in acquiring an arm who delivered strong results in both 2011 and 2013 and also projects to earn a modest $4.4MM salary in 2016 (in the estimation of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz). In Nova’s peak season, 2013, he posted a 3.10 ERA with 7.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 53.5 percent ground-ball rate in 139 1/3 innings of work. It should also be noted that for all of his struggles, Nova averaged 93 mph on his fastball in 2015 — the same mark he averaged in 2013 and a bit faster than his 2011 average.
Sherman notes that there are scenarios where the Yankees could package Nova with additional talent in order to acquire a starter with multiple years of control remaining, although that’s clearly a nebulous scenario with myriad possibilities. The Yankees are said to be very open-minded this winter, with outfielder Brett Gardner and closer Andrew Miller among the names who have been said to be available (though Miller would require a significant return). Both could conceivably net a controllable pitcher if packaged with Nova, though that’s just speculation on my behalf.