• With Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner off the market teams will scramble for the next best available options
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are the best options available right now
  • Julio Teheran, Homer Bailey and Ivan Nova are all secondary options

Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner have all signed contracts for the 2020 season so the teams that lost out on them, plus Zach Wheeler, will have to look at cheaper alternatives in the starting pitcher free agent market. Here are the five best candidates who are still available.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu is 32 years old and is coming off a season in which he finished second in the NL Cy Young race. He turns 33 in March and has struggled with injuries at times in his career, so he is not going to get mega-money like Cole or Strasburg.

According to Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors, Ryu should get somewhere in the region of $17 million per season and could get a four-year contract. The Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers all hold interest in Ryu.

Dallas Keuchel Houston Astros
Dallas Keuchel #60 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on September 19, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel is also still on the market after a short 2019 campaign. He didn’t sign with the Braves until June and was limited to just 19 starts. He went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA in that span and didn’t allow a single stolen base.

His strikeout rate is dropping but he compensates for that by producing a larger than the average number of ground balls. Keuchel has mainly been linked with moves to the White Sox, Angels, Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies.

Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran saw his long tenure with the Braves end in 2019 after the team declined his $12 million option for the 2020 season and instead paid a one-million-dollar buyout. The 28-year-old didn’t exactly impress this past season posting a 10-11 record with a 3.81 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.

Atlanta even decided to leave Teheran off the post-season roster before adding him back due to a Chris Martin injury. He is, however, one of the younger available free agent starters so he will have at least some appeal to the teams that lost out on the names above.

The Associated Press reports that Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will remain in contact with Teheran’s agent and with the organization already near their 2020 payroll limit, the two may make a good match.

Homer Bailey

Homer Bailey did get more wins than Teheran in 2019 and hasn’t seen his overall effectiveness diminish much due to age. The 33-year-old owned a 13-9 record an ERA of 4.57 and a WHIP of 1.32 over 31 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2019.

For his career, Bailey is 80-86 with an ERA of 4.57 and a WHIP of 1.37. He is one of the older free agents still available but his durability and consistency should earn him a deal somewhere for 2020. However, Bailey may have to wait until a few of the other names on the list are signed.

Ivan Nova

Finally, Ivan Nova did suffer slight regression in 2019 compared to his career numbers. With the Chicago White Sox he went 11-12 with a 4.72 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. In his nine-year MLB career, he is 89-76 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

Nova is 32, so it may not get much better but he still has at least a few years left in the tank. While his stats are not the most impressive, there are a lot of teams looking for pitching so it would be very surprising to see the season start without Ivan Nova committed to a new club.