Ivan Nova went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA for the Yankees as a 24-year-old in 2011, convincing quite a few people that he was a future star, but he’s been terrible since then and now he’s headed back to Triple-A.
Nova, who hasn’t pitched in the minors since 2011, was demoted in tandem with the Yankees activating Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira from the disabled list. They needed to make space on the roster and Nova has a 5.16 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances after posting a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts last year.
He’ll no doubt be back and if the Yankees have truly soured on Nova they could almost surely get something for him in trade, especially since his 179/66 K/BB ratio in 193 innings since 2012 is a whole lot better than his ERA. At age 26 he still has plenty of upside, but the Yankees are predictably running out of patience.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.