The New York Yankees have completed one big trade today, and aren’t done as the deadline approaches, now trying to find takes for Ivan Nova, with teams like the Miami Marlins, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets possibly showing some interest.
The Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for two prospects and got Adam Warren back as well. They’re not done selling though, finally coming to terms, despite recent wins, that this season isn’t going to end with contending for the World Series or anywhere close, although subtracting senior talent sometimes acts up in weird ways. Now they’re trying to convince team that there’s a future to Nova, a 29-year old pitcher with an erratic career.
This season has been inconsistent too. He had an awful June (26.1 innings in five games, 7.52 ERA, allowed a .325 batting average, striking out only 2.1 batters per walk), but overall this isn’t a bad season for him, especially compared to 2014 and 2015: He has a 4.65 ERA through 93 innings, going 7-5 in 14 starts. His WHIP is 1.323 and has 3.27 strikeouts per walk, striking out 7 batters per nine innings. Not excellent, but something to work with, and something that teams in pitching problems can go for.
His velocity is in a good spot despite the Tommy John surgery, averaging 92.5 mph on his fastball. His home run to flyball ratio continues to be high, but playing less in a stadium like Yankee Stadium could help in that regard, unless someone puts him in Coors Field. His contract is up at the end of the season, making $4.1 million this year, which means there’s about $1.5 million left to pay, not something that will keep teams away.
Overall, Nova is a good pickup that doesn’t come at a high cost for teams looking for someone at the back of their rotation to give them 5-6 innings (hopefully) more, with reasonable control and power in his pitch. The salary, as we said, isn’t going to be a problem, and neither is the age, if a team is thinking about someone they can re-sign and play a few more years. The Yankees, with a week left to trade players, are probably looking for a decent prospect out of this, nothing more.
If the season ended right now, both the Orioles (leading their division) and the Marlins (Wild Card) would make the postseason. The Mets are trailing them by 0.5 games, while the Tigers, possibly too far behind the Cleveland Indians to catch them, need help in their rotation more than anyone if they want to catch up with the Wild Card teams.