One of the few things I like more than gambling is baseball, so the “futures” odds on teams winning the World Series are always interesting. Here’s what Bodog is offering right now (for entertainment purposes only, of course):
AMERICAN LEAGUE ODDS NATIONAL LEAGUE ODDS
New York Yankees 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies 6-1
Boston Red Sox 6-1 St. Louis Cardinals 12-1
Seattle Mariners 16-1 Los Angeles Dodgers 16-1
Tampa Bay Rays 18-1 Chicago Cubs 18-1
Minnesota Twins 18-1 Atlanta Braves 20-1
Los Angeles Angels 18-1 Colorado Rockies 20-1
Chicago White Sox 18-1 San Francisco Giants 22-1
Texas Rangers 25-1 New York Mets 28-1
Detroit Tigers 30-1 Arizona Diamondbacks 35-1
Oakland Athletics 60-1 Florida Marlins 38-1
Cleveland Indians 75-1 Milwaukee Brewers 45-1
Baltimore Orioles 100-1 Cincinnati Reds 50-1
Kansas City Royals 100-1 Houston Astros 75-1
Toronto Blue Jays 150-1 San Diego Padres 100-1
Pittsburgh Pirates 150-1
Washington Nationals 150-1
Perhaps the media hype surrounding Seattle’s new management really has gotten out of control, because there’s no way the Mariners should have the fifth-highest odds in all of baseball to win the World Series at 16-to-1. General manager Jack Zduriencik and company have made tremendous strides and it wouldn’t surprise me if they made the playoffs, but 16-to-1 seems crazy
I actually picked the Rangers to narrowly beat the Mariners (plus the Angels and A’s) in the AL West, so I like them at 25-to-1 quite a bit more. The Tigers at 30-to-1 also seems like a decent bet, if only because their offseason losses have generally been overstated and winning the AL Central almost never requires more than 90 victories.
Over in the NL, the Cardinals at 12-to-1 seems decent as far as heavy favorites go. I think they’re neck and neck with the Phillies as the best team in the league and the NL Central may not offer much of a challenge. With that said, the Brewers are certainly a solid enough team that 45-to-1 seems pretty good as a flier. I’d take Milwaukee over at least 3-4 teams with lower odds.
Incidentally, the one thing I’m sure of is that you’ll get an equal return on your investment and probably more enjoyment literally flushing money down the toilet or lighting money on fire than you will betting it on the Pirates, Nationals, or Blue Jays at 150-to-1. Bodog could offer 150-to-1 odds on the Pirates winning the World Series this decade and I’d have to really think about it.
The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.
While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.
“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’
It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.
DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.
The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.
The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.
Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.
Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.
It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.