Ivan Nova has been a revelation in the Pirates’ rotation since being acquired for a pair of minor leaguers (Stephen Tarpley and Tito Polo), and Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pittsburgh is already working to prevent Nova from reaching the open market. The Pirates have made a pair of extension offers to Nova, according to Brink, but Nova’s representatives with the Legacy Agency opened talks with an asking price of $70MM over five years.
While that’s a shocking number, to be sure, given Nova’s lack of a track record, it’s not surprising to see any agency come in with high starting point. (Conversely, while Brink doesn’t report the size of Pittsburgh’s early offer, one can only imagine that it was probably considerably lower than the top of their comfort zone and than Nova’s market value.) Brink does note that the Pirates were the ones to initiate talks with Nova’s camp in the first week of September, and they came back with an increased counter-offer after hearing the early asking price. While Brink doesn’t indicate that anything is close between the two sides, discussions are still alive at this juncture.
Two months ago, that number for Nova would’ve seemed preposterous, but like many pitchers before him, Nova has experienced a renaissance in Pittsburgh. Though he finally had a rough outing in his most recent start, the 29-year-old Nova has worked to a brilliant 2.93 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against a superlative 0.5 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings of work. He’s maintained his strong ground-ball rate (50.9 percent since the trade) and issued an unthinkable three walks to the 220 batters he’s faced. While there will, of course, be skepticism about his ability to sustain this performance (particularly the superlative command), this isn’t the first prolonged stretch of excellence that Nova has enjoyed in his career. He tossed 139 innings of 3.10 ERA ball for the Yankees in 2013, but Tommy John surgery in late April of the 2014 season prematurely halted his opportunity to build on that success.
MLBTR’s Charlie Wilmoth recently likened Nova’s emergence with the Bucs to that of J.A. Happ last season following a trade from the Blue Jays, and the comparison is apt. However, Happ was three years older than Nova at the time of their respective trades, and he was walking into a considerably stronger market for starting pitching. I’ve been slow to warm to this idea, personally, as I recently explained in the MLBTR Mailbag, but a four-year contract for Nova is looking increasingly likely on this year’s dreadful market for free-agent starters. His primary competition will be a 36-year-old Rich Hill (37 next March) and Jeremy Hellickson. However, while Hellickson is more comparably aged to Nova (29) and has been an outstanding buy-low investment for the Phillies, he’ll almost certainly have to deal with a qualifying offer this winter. Nova, though, will be free of that burden by virtue of the midseason trade that sent him from New York to Pittsburgh and made him ineligible to receive a QO.
Nova isn’t taking an extension. Why should he?
Because he’s a soon to be 30 year old pitcher with an unimpressive track record, injury history, a career ERA+ under league average, is asking for 5/70 which means PIT will slap a QO on him……so now any team that would sign him will lose a 1st rd pick. QO’s have heavily affected player’s with a far more impressive track record than Nova….
As written in the post, Nova is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.
For one, as Steve already pointed out, Nova is not eligible to receive a qualifying offer.
Secondly, regardless of what you think of Nova. It stands to reason that he’ll make more money if he is allowed to negotiate with all 30 teams than if he is only allowed to negotiate with one. An extension this close to free agency makes no sense in any way, shape or form from Nova’s perspective.
I for one believe an extension would make sense from his perspective, as long as he got as much as he wanted (even though he most likely won’t). As others have been quick to say, his track record isn’t all that impressive and for the right amount of money, I would say he would accept an extension, just like his teammate Francisco Cervelli did at the beginning of the season.
NO IT WOULD NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anything the Pirates offer him now will still be on the table two months from now when he’s a free agent and then some other team could offer him possibly more. And this is a completely different situation from Cevelli because when he took his extension he still had most of the season left to play and was eliminating the risk of an injury or down season hurting his earning potential (which it would have). The odds of something happening to Nova between now and the end of the season are very slim and easily worth taking for the extra money he’ll get in free agency.
Alright, alright. I see what you mean — just calm down…
Do you really need to be condescending in all of your comments, Ryan? Enough already, man. It’s not that hard to be civil and respectful.
I don’t get why Nova would even consider an extension right now. The free agent pitching market this winter is the weakest we have seen in years and many, many teams would be interested in securing his services.
Limiting the market to just one team would be a very silly move for a player in his position.
I strongly doubt he signs any extension.
Nova is not going to take an extension so close to free agency. I am happy though that the Pirates are at least trying and have made multiple offers. Hopefully they learned their lesson from Happ last year and know that they need to be aggressive to retain talent and compete for a pennant.
So 29 year old Jeremy Hellickson is ‘comparably aged’ with 36 year old Rich Hill? Maybe on the planet Mercury. Here on Earth, not so much.
Pretty sure they meant Hellickson is “comparably aged with Ivan Nova” which is true.
I was likening the age of Nova and Hellickson, but I can see where that’s not reflected clearly. Amending the wording.
The asking price on Nova’s end makes some sense now on why Boston “might” be tempted now to pick up the 13m option on the 33yo Bucholz. Buch has had a better track record, tho both have been pretty unreliable at best and seem to be pretty iffy going forward.
I wouldn’t want to give guaranteed long term, high dollar deals over multi years to either..
Honestly, if the Pirates can’t get Nova, wouldn’t be surprised to see them push for Hellickson.
I think they’re both getting four-year deals this winter, and surrendering the first-round pick that Hellickson requires — assuming he gets a QO, which I think is a lock — will be extra-tough for the Pirates. Plus, Pittsburgh tends to target ground-ball pitchers, which Hellickson is not.
Not saying they won’t at least kick the tires, but it’s a tougher fit to see.
Given the Pirates’ predilection for groundball pitchers and less-costly reclamation products, I wonder if they’ll poke around on the already somewhat-reclaimed Clayton Richard this winter. Sort of fits the mold for them.
Given his generally sub-par performance to this point (minus one year he missed a third of a season) I wouldn’t give him 70/5 guaranteed.
I’d give him 75/5 potential with 1 or two years at 9/14 guaranteed at most, the rest as options 3rd year vesting and the other two as team options with player friendly buyouts.
With the talent the pirates have coming at starter it is hard to put a lot of money into it, but if Nova can prove that these past handful of games are not a fluke next season I’d rather have someone with MLB experience and have added depth.
I can see nova’s reps asking for a lot as the free agent market doesn’t have a lot of big names this year.
No way he takes that
and i’m fine with that
The Pirates have incredible young pitching. They will easily be a top 5 rotation in two (or less) years, with Ivan Nova or not. No need to give him a ridiculous contract. If he’s affordable, keep him around and then kick him to the ‘pen when the youngsters are ready to take over.
I wouldn’t go more than 3 years 36 million if I were the Pirates
Nova picked the right time to pitch well, he should get 4/55. in free agency this winter. I don’t see the Bucs going that high. The Pirates do have some good young pitching coming; This is Nova’s chance to cash in at age 30. with the free agent market being weak this winter. I can see more trades this winter than usual.