By George A. King III
The White Sox had an interest in Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova and the A’s Jesse Chavez last month, but with Oakland dealing the right-hander to Toronto, Chicago’s interest in Nova hasn’t spiked.
While the White Sox are hunting for a right-handed starter, they haven’t been banging on the Yankees’ door. That could change beginning Monday in Nashville, Tenn., when the Winter Meetings commence. The Yankees have held discussions with several teams about Nova, but at the moment clubs aren’t fighting one another to acquire the right-hander, who will be 29 in January and coming off a disappointing 2015, when he was 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts following Tommy John surgery the year before.
In July, the Yankees and Reds talked about Johnny Cueto, and Nova’s name was included but understandably not the headliner. However, Cueto went to the Royals.
Before the Tommy John surgery, Nova was 37-18 from 2011 to 2013, and there were strong outings last season, but there were too many stretches of inconsistency.
With Nova, who is a free agent after the 2016 season and likely to make $4.5 million this coming year, the Yankees are looking for a younger pitcher who has more controllable years.
And with Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Adam Warren and Bryan Mitchell capable of starting, Nova, who is 46-33 with a 4.33 ERA in the big leagues, is expendable.
According to scouts, Nova’s arm wasn’t fully back from the surgery last season, when he didn’t face big league hitters until June 24.
Nova ended the year 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in the final four starts of the season.