Betting odds have Rangers as solid World Series favorites

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Gambling odds don’t necessarily show which team is better than another team, since the goal is to align half the bettors one side and half the bettors on the other side rather than predict the actual outcome.

With that said, Bodog has the Rangers as -165 favorites over the Cardinals in the World Series. Or, put another way: To win $100 on the Rangers you’d have to bet $165 and a $100 bet on the Cardinals would pay $145.

Texas as the favorites probably won’t surprise anyone, although it’s interesting given that Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals are actually slight favorites for Game 1 at -125, compared to C.J. Wilson and the Rangers at +105.

And speaking of betting lines, back in December the Rangers and Cardinals both had identical odds to win the World Series: 20-to-1.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.