The signing reunites Nova with Joe Girardi, who managed the righty over Nova’s seven seasons with the Yankees. Nova delivered some solid results in New York’s rotation (albeit missing large parts of the 2014-15 seasons due to Tommy John surgery) before being dealt to the Pirates at the 2016 trade deadline. Nova pitched for the Bucs through the 2018 campaign, before moving on to the White Sox in 2019 and the Tigers in 2020.
Never a hard thrower or a big strikeout pitcher (career 16.7 K%), Nova has relied on durability and a lot of ground balls as his calling card over 11 Major League seasons. However, Nova’s performance took a drastic dropoff last season, with an 8.53 ERA over the admittedly small sample size of 19 innings in Detroit’s rotation. Nova did allow four home runs in that brief stint, and issued as many walks (nine) as strikeouts.
Nova averaged 174 innings per season from 2016-19, returning from his TJ surgery with seemingly no loss of his former durability. If the 34-year-old has anything left in the tank, the Phillies could use Nova as an innings-eater at the back of their rotation, or as the first line of defense if any of their projected five starters suffers an injury or needs to be rested to rebuild arm strength. The Phils also signed Bryan Mitchell to a minor league deal earlier today, a former Nova teammate under Girardi in the Bronx.