According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees have a desire to acquire a starting pitcher, but are also willing to trade Ivan Nova. That may seem like a contradiction, but as Sherman notes, there are some scenarios in which Nova could be used to acquire a controllable starter.
"Nova has just one season left until free agency and the Yankees are looking for starters who can help in 2016 and beyond. Thus, there are scenarios in which the Yankees could obtain a starter with several years of control and Nova could be sent back as part of the package to give the trading team a starter to plug into their rotation for 2016."
Given the Yankees' desire to acquire a pitcher with multiple years of control, Shelby Miller immediately comes to mind. He's under team control through the end of the 2018 season, and the Braves seem to be shopping him. The only roadblock in that hypothetical situation is that Atlanta appears to be overvaluing Miller.
They've asked the Diamondbacks for A.J. Pollock, the 8th most valuable player by fWAR in 2015, and the Giants for either Matt Duffy, the runner up for the NL ROY, or Joe Panik, their franchise 2nd baseman. If the Yankees did want to acquire Miller, they might be forced to part with a highly valued prospect to make it happen.
While Nova had a down 2015 season, Sherman notes that the Yankees won't sell low on him.
"They are pitching that he will be stronger and healthier another year removed from his 2014 Tommy John surgery. They are saying he will be a motivated pitcher in his walk year. They see him as cost-efficient -- about $4.5 million in his final year of arbitration -- and in his prime -- 29 in January."
Nova didn't have the greatest 2015 campaign, but it's easy to see he still has upside. His average fastball velocity returned to pre-2014 levels, and his ground ball rate still ranks in the upper echelon of MLB pitchers.
For now, the Yankees seem to be shopping Nova, but no deal is imminent. If Brian Cashman can work out a trade that would net them a controllable starter, that would be the best case scenario for New York, but "at worst, the Yankees will keep him for depth and hope he resembles the pitcher" that he was from 2011-to-2013.