The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently focused on trying to get out of the losing streak they’re on and remain in the wild card race, but one thing they should think about is Ivan Nova and his impending free agency. Offering him an extension before he hits the open market wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Nova never developed into the kind of pitcher the New York Yankees were hoping for, and so he was traded before the deadline to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers. Since joining the Pirates, he’s been playing the best baseball of his career, with a 2.89 ERA through six starts and 37.1 innings, posting a terrific 0.991 WHIP and an incredible 14.00 strikeout to walk ratio, still not walking a single player since becoming a Pirates players.
Nova, 29, becomes a free agent for the first time in his career this offseason, which means it’s tempting for him to try and test the market, even if the Pirates do offer an extension. He made $4.1 million this season, and although he has been inconsistent in pretty much every possible way for most of his career, he’s been good enough times to get a much better deal than he has right now. The Pirates might not be able to compete with everyone for Nova’s services, but perhaps a long-term deal with some sort of insurance in the form of a team option could work.
If Nova keeps this up and finishes strong, he is in line for at least double the salary and something like a three year deal, especially with the free-agent pitching market very thin heading into the 2016-2017 winter, and plenty of teams mostly thinking about what kind of trades they can pull off.
Nova has been pitching in the majors since 2010, and finished 4th on the rookie of the year voting in 2011. Overall this season he has a 4.34 ERA which would be his best since 2013, and his 1.255 WHIP along with a 3.81 strikeout-per-walk ratio are both the best of his career.