Ivan Nova has been mediocre for the most part in 2019 for the Chicago White Sox, but with the team entering a critical year in next season, they will have to decide whether or not to bring him back in the offseason.
That is in spite of the fact that Lucas Giolito registered a 3.41 ERA for the team in a breakout season, before going down with a lat strain.
In terms of other pitchers with significant innings to pitch with an ERA under that, Ivan Nova has been the only one to do so this season with a 4.83 ERA.
Now, to start off, that is not impressive in the slightest.
However, given the shape and inexperience of the rest of the rotation, the team certainly couldn’t be complaining about having a veteran presence that has managed to eat 177 innings so far.
So, this begs the question, should the team consider re-signing him this offseason?
I would argue that they definitely should at least think about signing him and a better pitcher too.
Nova, 32, has proven to be very durable over the last four seasons having thrown over 160 innings in each one. In fact, in 2019, he’s started the fourth-most games in baseball, tied with Marco Gonzales, Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Julio Teheran.
While Nova’s 5.4 K/9 as compared to 2.3 BB/9 leave a lot to be desired, a durable arm like Nova could become extremely valuable, even if his 5.11 FIP and 1.463 WHIP don’t suggest much improvement coming to him in the near future.
Given the fact that the team only has one proven arm in Giolito, they will be forced to either add a veteran presence to the rotation or go with young guys next season.
While Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, and at some point Carlos Rodon is an impressive quartet of starters to have for the future, the fact is that they lack proven talent in the rotation.
Kopech and Rodon will both be returning from Tommy John Surgery while Cease has a 6.18 ERA and Lopez has a 5.44 ERA.
Wouldn’t it be better to have those four options vying for three or even two spots rather than relying on them to be your four starters right away?
The team, at the very least, will need one or two stopgap options for Rodon and Kopech at the beginning of the season anyway.
It would, in turn, make sense for the Chicago White Sox to bring back Ivan Nova on a cheap one-year deal and maybe also try to stabilize the rotation long-term by adding one of the big fish in Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, assuming the latter opts-out.