Craig Calcaterra

Newly acquired Chicago Cubs outfielderJason Heyward poses in a Chicago Cubs uniform during a news conference announcing Hayward as a Chicago Cub Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Associated Press

World Series odds on December 16? Why not?

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There have been a handful of “the Cubs are now the World Series favorites!” stories going around since they signed Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey. And, with a respectful nod toward San Francisco, it’s hard to quibble with the notion that the Cubs have done more to improve themselves so far this offseason than any other contender.

Still, it seems rather weird to be handicapping the 2016 World Series in December of 2015. Sure, many of the biggest moves have already gone down, but late December and all of January are full of other transactions, many seemingly minor, which always have a big impact in the next year. And that’s before you remember that, most of the time, the team that “wins the offseason” does not win the World Series. Just go back and look at all the shade thrown on the Royals last winter to see how that all works out.

With all of those caveats in mind, the folks at Bovada have just sent around the latest 2016 World Series odds. They are, no doubt, calculated at getting people who don’t pay attention to those caveats to put money down on the Champions of the Offseason:

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Garret Jones signs with the Yomiuri Giants

Garrett Jones Yankees
Associated Press
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Garret Jones, late of the Yankees, Marlins and Pirates, has signed to play for the Yomiuri Giants of NPB. He will make $2.8 million in 2016, with incentives on top of that.

Jones is 34. He was a late-bloomer, getting his first MLB action at age 26 with the Twins, but not really sticking until his age 28 season with the Pirates. His calling card has always been power, with three 20+ home run seasons and a career slugging percentage of .445. Which, of course, isn’t so good that it can carry him as a regular in MLB unless he’s having a hit-lucky year like he had in 2009 and 2012. In 2015 he struggled in 57 games for the Yankees, hitting .215/.257/.351 with five homers. Lefties have also always been an issue for him.

A nearly $3 million payday for Jones at this point is a pretty good deal for him given that he’d be a minor league deal/camp-invite kind of guy if he stayed in the states.

Jonathan Papelbon has a TON of teams on his no-trade list

Jonathan Papelbon
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The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, wants the Washington Nationals to trade Jonathan Papelbon. Like so much else in Washington, saying it is much easier than doing it.

Why? Because Jerry Crasnick reports that Papelbon has the following teams on his no-trade list: Athletics, Blue Jays, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Yankees.

That’s 17 teams he doesn’t want to be traded to. No word on how many teams have Papelbon on their “we don’t want to trade for HIM” list, but it’s probably more than 17. Which makes this whole “the Nats want to trade Papelbon” notion that has been gaining steam since the end of the season pretty darn difficult, one assumes.