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:
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.