Pirates Post-Trade Deadline Recap

Minutes before the deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a deal with the New York Yankees to acquire right hander Ivan Nova for two players to be named later.

Nova, 29, has been on the Pirates radar for weeks as the team has sought to upgrade the rotation. How much if any did the Pirates upgrade the rotation is up for debate.

Was the Nova trade just a trade for the sake of making a trade?

From the Pirates end, they will be banking on that Nova has a J.A. Happ type run in him over the next two months.

Nova is 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA. He has a 75/25 K/BB ratio and 1.36 WHIP in 97.1 innings pitched.

Last season Nova went 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA. In 2014 Nova appeared in just four games due to Tommy John Surgery. His career has been on a decline since a 16 win season in 2011.

Pirates GM Neal Huntington dipped his toes into the market for a long-term starter but for the second straight year comes out of the deadline with a rental starting pitcher. Nova making $4.1 million this season is a free agent at seasons end.

The Pirates were involved in talks with the Tampa Bay Rays on Chris Archer and Matt Moore. Talks surrounding Moore intensified in the last 48 hours but Tampa Bay never came off their request of Austin Meadows or Josh Bell. The Pirates have given firm ‘No’s’ to any teams inquiring about both, though, in the right trade Bell could likely be had.

Moore was traded to San Francisco.

In another move [hide] the Pirates traded Jon Niese to the New York Mets in-exchange for reliever Antonio Bastardo who returns to Pittsburgh.

Bastardo under contract through the 2017 season, owed $6.5 million next season, has a 4.72 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched.

The Pirates and Mets had discussed a bigger deal prior to the weekend that would have sent Mark Melancon and Niese to the Mets for Bastardo and two prospects, per a source.

The Pirates come out of the deadline beefing up their middle relief in the bullpen with the additions of Bastardo and Felipe Rivero.

The loss of Mark Melancon will come down to how well Tony Watson can replace him.


The rotation still has its share of concerns heading into the final two months of the season starting with Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano. Dominant runs by both will go a long way to the Pirates securing a fourth straight post-season berth. Of the two, Liriano has shown nothing that he has that type of run in him and the Pirates are open to trading Liriano this month.

[Updated 4:55 PM | Pirates have traded Francisco Liriano to Toronto |]

If Nova turns into J.A. Happ, then great, but there’s also a good chance that three months from now many will look at the acquisition as a move that blocked an opportunity for one of the Pirates young starters they’ll be counting on in 2017 to get needed experience.

Was the Nova trade just a trade for the sake of making a trade?

It sure looks like it on paper, but so did the Happ trade.[/hide]