Ivan Nova will continue his aggressive approach with the Pirates and turn into one of the best winter bargains among pitchers.
Nova spent the better part of six years tantalizing and tormenting Yankees fans; he was brilliant in limited doses in 2011 and '13, totaling a combined 7.0 WAR, and otherwise somewhere between barely serviceable and awful—at least when he wasn't injured. After scuffling to a 4.90 ERA/5.10 FIP with 1.8 homers and 2.3 walks per nine in the Bronx last year, he was dealt to the Pirates on Aug. 1 and quickly took his place among pitching coach Ray Searage's success stories. Adopting a more aggressive approach, Nova pitched to a 3.06 ERA with an eye-opening 52:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 64 2/3 innings. In a winter with a dearth of free agent starters, he stayed with Pittsburgh via a three-year, $26 million deal. Under Searage's watchful eye, the team may well recoup most of that cost in a single season.