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Nova likes idea of re-signing with Pirates

Free agent to be has thrived since trade from Yankees
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates would love to have Ivan Nova in their rotation next season. Nova made it clear Friday he would love to stay in Pittsburgh. Looking to find a middle ground so both sides can get what they want, the Pirates have reportedly opened contract talks with Nova's camp.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Thursday that the Pirates have made two extension offers to Nova, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Greg Genske, Nova's agent, confirmed the report to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday, telling the newspaper that "while there is mutual interest ... no agreement is imminent."

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PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates would love to have Ivan Nova in their rotation next season. Nova made it clear Friday he would love to stay in Pittsburgh. Looking to find a middle ground so both sides can get what they want, the Pirates have reportedly opened contract talks with Nova's camp.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Thursday that the Pirates have made two extension offers to Nova, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Greg Genske, Nova's agent, confirmed the report to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday, telling the newspaper that "while there is mutual interest ... no agreement is imminent."

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"If the situation is there, I would love to stay here. Of course there's two parties involved and they've got to get an agreement," Nova told MLB.com on Friday. "I'm not the right person to be talking about this because I don't know what's going on. ... I don't get involved in that stuff. My only focus is to win games, go out there and help the team."

Nova has dramatically changed the course of his offseason since joining the Pirates on Aug. 1. The 29-year-old right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA and two complete games with Pittsburgh, displaying remarkable control with 45 strikeouts and only three walks in 55 1/3 innings.

Can the Pirates meet Nova's demands? They did not retain J.A. Happ in a similar situation last season, as Happ signed a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays and has thrived in Toronto this year.

Nova's initial asking price -- five years and $70 million, according to the Post-Gazette report -- is even steeper, more in line with the five-year, $80 million deal Mike Leake received from the Cardinals last winter. If Nova reaches the open market, he will be one of the most intriguing options in a relatively thin crop of free agents.

The Pirates could use a veteran starter to join their rotation. They currently have Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon penciled in atop the group, with Chad Kuhl likely to earn a spot. If they don't add another arm, the other two vacancies would be filled by Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, Trevor Williams or top prospect Tyler Glasnow.

Nova has proven to be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh for a number of reasons. The Pirates' home ballpark is more forgiving than Yankee Stadium, and the former New York hurler benefited from getting out of the heavy-hitting American League East. Pitching coach Ray Searage has cleaned up Nova's mechanics, putting him on a more direct path to the plate.

Nova has been reunited with catcher Francisco Cervelli, a former Yankees teammate. The veteran has maintained a high ground ball rate, a trait the Pirates look for in pitchers. After being a Yankee his entire career, Nova has simply felt at home as a Pirate.

"I came here, they treated me really well -- the coaching staff, teammates, everybody," he said. "I feel really comfortable here, so why not? Why go out there and experience something new when I feel like I have everything here?

"Just the way they play here. They're so relaxed, having fun. That's probably the reason I say I would love to stay here. Right now, it's not up to me. I can't do anything about it. But if the situation is presented, for sure."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Ivan Nova