MLB hot stove rumors: Tigers sign Ivan Nova; Cubs trade utility man to Athletics

January 13th generally doesn't bring lots of baseball news. Suffice it to say, this Monday was quite a bit different -- though it didn't have anything to do with player transactions. The Astros were hammered for the 2017 sign-stealing scandal, and the league's punishment included one year suspensions for former GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch. Yes, former. In the wake of the news, Astros owner Jim Crane fired them both. Red Sox manager Alex Cora was heavily implicated in the MLB report and will be facing penalties soon, once the investigation into the 2018 Red Sox sign-stealing operation is concluded. 

Yes, it was quite the day. This is possibly one of baseball's biggest scandals

There were a few hot stove related items, too. We're still waiting on big-time free agent Josh Donaldson along with mid-tier free agents Marcell Ozuna, Nicholas Castellanos and Yasiel Puig to ink deals. There was little movement on that front, though. Let's get to what did happen.

Tigers sign Nova

The Tigers have signed starting pitcher Ivan Nova to a one-year deal, the club announced. MLB.com's Jason Beck reports the deal is for $1.5 million. 

Nova, who turned 33 on Sunday, was 11-12 with a 4.72 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 187 innings for the White Sox last season. He led the AL with 225 hits allowed last season and hasn't been great since the second half of 2016. So why did the Tigers sign him? Innings. They are still rebuilding and a pitcher like Nova -- who made all 34 starts last season, tied for the MLB lead -- will allow them to avoid over-taxing any young pitchers who might be part of the next Tigers contender. On the surface, it might not seem like much, but it's a good move for the health of the franchise long term.

Giants designate Cozart

Infielder Zack Cozart has had quite the fall. He was an All-Star with the Reds in 2017 before signing a three-year, $38 million free-agent deal with the Angels the following offseason. In just 96 games with the Angels, Cozart hit .190/.261/.296 (53 OPS+) and just couldn't stay on the field. He was traded to the Giants in December. Monday, the Giants announced that they had claimed right-handed reliever Jake Jewell of waivers from the Angels. As a corresponding move, the Giants designated Cozart for assignment. 

The Angels are on the hook for all of Cozart's salary for 2020 aside from the league minimum if he signs elsewhere, and he will likely get signed somewhere as a lottery ticket. He heads to his age-34 season, so while a huge year is unlikely, a productive one at an incredibly cheap price is possible. 

A's acquire Kemp

The Athletics traded with the Cubs for utility man Tony Kemp on Monday, the club announced. Kemp hit .212/.291/.380 (73 OPS+) with nine doubles, four triples, eight homers and four steals in 279 plate appearances, posting 0.3 WAR in the process. He's spent time in left field, second base and center field in the majors so far and is a decent pinch runner. The A's certainly feel like a team well-suited to maximize the abilities of a player like Kemp. 

Going back to the Cubs is minor-league first baseman Alfonso Rivas. He hit .292/.387/.423 in 122 High-A games last season. Between college, the minors and the Arizona Fall League, he appears to be a high OBP guy without much power.


CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories