Ivan Nova will rate as the winter's best bargain 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.