The White Sox worked out a trade to bring veteran right-hander Ivan Nova to the south side from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nova is another right-handed pitcher in a rotation saturated with right-handed dealers, but he is well traveled having spent several years in the New York Yankees’ rotation.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
Nova owns a career 4.26 earned run average spread over nine seasons with a WHIP north of 1.33. He has one year left on his contract and is a bargain considering his $9.1-million salary. Nova put together some very good seasons with the Yankees and Blue Jays. He was fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and posted four seasons with a winning percentage of .600 or better.
Last season was a solid campaign for Nova. He logged a 4.19 ERA over 29 starts and 161 innings, an innings-benchmark he has reached six times in his career. Even for a lone season, Nova is a reliable piece for the Sox 2019-rotation.
In a press release, Rick Hahn admired Nova for the person and player the White Sox perceive him to be.
“Iván is a quality individual who provides a veteran presence to our starting rotation and has shown the ability to consistently throw strikes,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “We’re excited what he brings to the organization both on the field and in the clubhouse.”
Given Nova’s short-term control and mid-rotation status, don’t expect the White Sox to have given up too much. Grabbing Nova fills the rotation spot vacated by James Shields and ostensibly offers an upgrade to the rotation.
A few more contextual nuggets from the press release:
Nova’s .788 (26-7) winning percentage through his first 50 starts was the second-highest among major-league pitchers who debuted between 1900 and 2010, trailing only Roy Oswalt (31-8, .795). His 15 consecutive wins over the 2011-12 seasons are the second-most in Yankees history behind Roger Clemens’ 16 in 2001. Nova led all American League rookies in 2011 with a career-best 16 victories, the most by a Yankees rookie since Stan Bahnsen in 1968 (17).
In return, the Pirates will receive Yordi Rosario and international bonus pool money. Rosario is 19 years old and signed with the Sox in 2016. He split last season between the Sox’s Dominican summer league affiliate and their Arizona Rookie-League location.
Deal official for Minor League pitcher Yordi Rosario and international signing bonus pool money. White Sox get Nova
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) December 11, 2018
Rosario is listed at 6’2, 185 pounds. The right-hander is lightyears away from the big leagues but has steadily improved over the last three seasons. He logged a 1.82 ERA over 29 2/3 innings and 7 starts in the DSL league before taking his lumps in Arizona against more polished hitters. Rosario could only manage a 4.10 ERA over four starts and six appearances in the Arizona Rookie League.
The White Sox will still look to add rotation and bullpen depth in a variety of ways, and make a strong bid for a second catcher to help Welington Castillo behind the dish next season. And then there’s always the pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to focus on.