The SSG Landers of the Korea Baseball Organization announced they’ve signed longtime big league starter Iván Nova (h/t to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap News). It’s a $900K guarantee that could top out at $1MM, the maximum allowed for a first-year foreign born player, if Nova reaches all the deal’s incentives.
It’ll be the first playing experience outside of North America for Nova, who turns 35 years old next month. The righty signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic back in 2004. He made his big league debut with New York in 2010 and spent the next five seasons as a member of the rotation. Nova posted an ERA below 4.00 in both 2011 and 2013, although he generally offered average production on a rate basis while soaking up innings at the back of the rotation.
The Yankees traded Nova to the Pirates at the 2016 deadline, and he spent the next two and a half seasons offering similarly decent bulk frames in Pittsburgh. Nova tossed 187 innings of 4.72 ERA ball in 2019, although that’s the last extended action he’s logged in the majors. He made just four starts with the Tigers in 2020 and didn’t pitch in affiliated ball this year. While Nova signed a minor league contract with the Rockies in April, he was released a few weeks later without seeing any game action.
Nova would surely have been limited to minor league contracts had he sought out opportunities in affiliated ball this winter. Instead, he’ll lock in some guaranteed money and presumably get a rotation job with the Landers. It’s not of the question Nova could attract MLB interest next offseason if he performs well in South Korea.