At the beginning of the offseason I posted Bodog.com’s gambling odds on each team winning the World Series in 2011, so now that we’re about halfway through the offseason and most of the major free agents have signed I thought it would be interesting to re-examine the same odds for all 30 teams.
First, here are the teams Bodog pegged as improving their World Series chances since November 2:
Phillies 6/1 7/2
Red Sox 10/1 9/2
Tigers 35/1 28/1
Mets 40/1 35/1
Brewers 65/1 40/1
Nationals 80/1 65/1
Not surprisingly, the Phillies’ addition of Cliff Lee and the Red Sox’s additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford significantly improve their odds. Detroit added Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit while re-signing Magglio Ordonez. Milwaukee traded for Zack Greinke. Washington signed Jayson Werth. And … well, I’m not sure what the Mets really did to improve their odds, other than hiring Sandy Alderson as general manager.
Next, here are the teams Bodog pegged as decreasing their World Series chances since November 2:
Yankees 4/1 6/1
Giants 10/1 12/1
Twins 16/1 18/1
Cardinals 14/1 20/1
Rays 14/1 20/1
Rangers 16/1 20/1
Rockies 18/1 20/1
Braves 18/1 22/1
Reds 20/1 25/1
White Sox 22/1 25/1
Dodgers 22/1 30/1
Padres 20/1 35/1
Cubs 30/1 35/1
Astros 65/1 75/1
Orioles 75/1 80/1
Mariners 70/1 100/1
A much longer list, which makes some sense given that Philadelphia and Boston were already among the favorites and significantly improved their odds. Bodog initially had the Yankees as the clear favorites to win the World Series at 4-to-1, but now they’re behind the Phillies and Red Sox at 6-to-1. Surprisingly the Rangers’ odds didn’t get that much longer despite losing Lee, but the Padres’ odds got much worse after dealing Gonzalez.
And finally, here are the teams with the same World Series odds they had on November 2:
Blue Jays 50/1
Apparently trading Greinke doesn’t change anything for the Royals when no one would have ever bet on them winning the World Series in the first place.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .