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.
The best thing about minor Thanksgiving week transactions is that they are almost certainly done by GMs frantically looking for some work to do rather than go pick up their in-laws at the airport. I mean, sure, the player in question could very easily be an important player who fills a key role in the organization, but it’s not like it couldn’t have waited until Monday, right? This is the GM equivalent of you pretending you have to run into the office on Wednesday afternoon and, in reality, driving around in your car, listening to Neil Young and promising that NEXT YEAR you’re just doing a small Thanksgiving dinner with no family and, maybe, might even go on a little trip, just you and the wife.
Or is that just me? OK, maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, that’s how I’m choosing to view the Pirates activity today. First they traded for Allen Webster and now they’re signing minor league free agent first baseman/outfielder Jake Goebbert, according to Adam Berry of MLB.com.
Goebbert, 28, hit .294 with an .844 OPS and 10 homers for Triple-A El Paso last season. He has 115 plate appearances in the bigs, all for San Diego in 2014. Overall he has a line of .282/.386/.465 with 30 homers in 997 Triple-A plate appearances in the Astros, Athletics and Padres organizations.
Not a bad depth move, especially given that the Pirates are looking to trade Pedro Alvarez and otherwise re-jigger their first base situation.
Matt Hague got a cup of coffee in Toronto this year after winning the International League MVP, but the 30-year-old first baseman/third baseman found a better opportunity in Japan and the Blue Jays have sold him to the Hanshin Tigers.
Hague hit .338 in 136 games at Triple-A this past season and is a career .301 hitter in eight minor-league seasons overall, but his lack of power limits his opportunities in the majors and he’s received a grand total of 91 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto Sportnet reports that the sale price for Hague is $300,000, which goes to the Blue Jays. And then Hague will no doubt sign a deal for a lot more than he could have earned at Triple-A and perhaps more than the MLB minimum salary.
The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that have traded righty Allen Webster to the Pirates for cash considerations.
Webster, who turns 26 in February, was DFA’d by the Dbacks a few days ago. He pitched in nine games, starting five, in 2015, posting a 5.81 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 17/20 (eww) in 31 innings. Before that he pitched 89.1 innings for the Red Sox over two years with numbers not too terribly more impressive than that.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees “have let teams know Ivan Nova is available” in trade.
Nova returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in May to throw 94 innings with a 5.07 ERA and will be a free agent after the 2016 season, so it’s tough to imagine his trade market being particularly robust.
Despite that, Sherman writes that the Yankees “are not selling low” on Nova and might try to package him with other players to bring back a young starting pitcher under team control for multiple seasons. In other words, they’d like to trade Nova for a pitcher who can step into his rotation spot in 2016 and beyond.
Nova has had some good years in New York, but he’s 29 years old with a career 4.33 ERA and just 6.7 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s more middle-of-the-rotation starter than front-line starter and even that might be in question following elbow surgery.