Pirates Add Ivan Nova, Swap Jon Niese for Antonio Bastardo

In the waning minutes before the 2016 MLB trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to acquire starting pitcher Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees. New York will receive two players to be named later. Jon Heyman first reported the trade. Nova will bolster the Pirates rotational depth. The Pirates also dealt pitcher Jon Niese to the Mets for Antonio Bastardo.

Pirates Add Ivan Nova, Swap Jon Niese for Antonio Bastardo

Ivan Nova Dealt to Pirates

The 29-year-old Nova began his MLB career in 2010, and has spent all six years with the Yankees. His best statistical year in pinstripes came in 2013, when he posted a 3.10 ERA and 116 strikeouts in139.1 innings. In 2011, his second season with the team, he won a career high sixteen games.

However, following an injury-shortened 2014, Nova has really struggled, particularly with home runs and walks. He gave up thirteen bombs and thirty three walks in seventeen starts a year ago. This year, in just fifteen starts, he’s already allowed nineteen home runs and twenty five walks. He can still miss bats, as evidenced by his seventy-five strikeouts, but his control has become a major issue.

However, the Pirates rotation has been wrecked bu injury, with Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon both missing time due to injury. That, plus the disappointing year of Juan Nicasio, necessitated the trade for Nova.

Niese Dealt for Bastardo

In a very odd move, Jon Niese is heading back to where it all began. The nine-year veteran spent his first eight seasons with the New York Mets, and will head back there after joining the Pirates this year. Niese was the odd man out in the New York rotation, given the high level of talent the Mets have in that area. He was relegated to the bullpen before a less-than-friendly parting from the organization. Perhaps his second tenure with the team will prove happier.

On the other end, Antonio Bastardo becomes the newest member of the Pirates bullpen. This is also a reunion of sorts. Though Bastardo spend most of his career with the Phillies, and was effective for them in 2011 and 2013, he called Pittsburgh home in 2015. This season, in 43.2 innings of relief, Bastardo has an ugly 4.74 ERA. While the Pirates will have a hard time making the playoffs this year anyway, Bastardo certainly doesn’t help with those efforts.

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