The Pirates are “aggressively trying” to come to agreement with righty Ivan Nova on an extension that would keep him out of free agency, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter links). We learned recently that Pittsburgh had opened dialogue with the 29-year-old.
Things do not seem to be progressing quite as smoothly as the Bucs might have hoped, though. Agent Greg Genske confirms that there have been “multiple offers” and says that “there is mutual interest,” but also made clear that “no agreement is imminent.”
Though Genske did not address his client’s asking price, prior reports put it at five years and $70MM. It remains hard to imagine the Pirates going near that amount, but the fact that discussions remain open certainly suggests that they put a high value on their most recent reclamation project. The report suggests that the organization is mindful of a weak upcoming market for pitching.
Nova has undeniably been spectacular since coming to Pittsburgh at the trade deadline — even as the organization sold some veteran pieces. His 2.93 ERA over 55 1/3 innings doesn’t really tell the true story. Nova has permitted only three walks in that span while picking up 45 strikeouts, meaning that he carries an outstanding 15.0 K/BB ratio.
With perhaps only a pair of starts to go before he’ll reach the open market, Nova doesn’t have a ton of risk at this point. A few duds could put a damper on his market, as could any kind of injury, but it isn’t as if he’s facing a full season at this point. And the Bucs can’t slap a qualifying offer on him, limiting the team’s leverage. All told, it would be surprising to see a deal come together, as there’s little downside and plenty of upside in testing the market in this case.