MLB insider Robert Murray reported this morning that the Colorado Rockies have signed veteran starting pitcher Ivan Nova. It is assumed but not confirmed this is a minor league deal. Hours later, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Rockies have also brought back veteran reliever Chris Rusin on a minor league deal.
The right-handed Nova was last with the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training, where he failed to break the final roster. Nova had an ERA of 7.30 over five appearances and three starts, walking nine and striking out six.
His last MLB action came with in 2020 with the Detroit Tigers, where he started four games before being shut down due to tendonitis. During that stint, he had an ERA of 8.53. Advanced metrics were not kind to Nova in 2020, placing him at the bottom for most categories via MLB’s Baseball Savant.
Nova split time between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox from 2016-2019, where he was a durable starter in both rotations. He has a career ERA of 4.38, operating primarily as a sinkerballer with a high ground ball percentage. The Rockies are in desperate need of pitching depth, but Nova is a confusing choice to fill that need. Throughout his career he has struggled with both walks and the long ball, boasting a career HR/9 of 1.24 and a BB/9 of 2.46, with a K/9 of just 6.43. He also has a history of getting crushed at Coors Field, with a career OPS against of 1.127 in Denver.
The left-handed Chris Rusin was a staple of the Rockies bullpen from 2015-2018, with his best year coming in 2017 where he posted a 2.65 ERA and 1.106 WHIP in 85 innings. “The Swiss Army Knife” also pitched in all five of Colorado’s postseason games in 2017 and 2018, where pitched 6 1⁄3 scoreless innings. His first Rockies tenure ended after an injury-marred 2019 where he struggled in what little time he had, an ERA of 36.00 in two appearances and just one total inning.
Following the 2019 season, Rusin was released and signed with the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, he failed to find his footing there and was released after the 2020 season having pitched just 3 1⁄3 innings in one total appearance. In that single outing, he allowed three runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three. A healthy and productive Rusin could be immensely beneficial in a struggling Rockies bullpen lacking in lefty talent.
Purple Row will continue to follow and update this story as more information becomes available.