We study the MLB odds after prized free agent pitchers David Price and Johnny Cueto signed lucrative contracts with the Red Sox and Giants respectively.
Red Sox Address Big Weakness
On December 4, the Red Sox and David Price agreed to terms on a seven-year, $217 million contract that reportedly includes an opt-out after three seasons. Over the years, Price has proven that he is on the level of ace starters like Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer. Just look at his numbers since winning the AL Cy Young in 2012: 124 starts with a 2.90 ERA, 4.98 K/BB ratio, 217 innings per season, 73.4 percent quality starts and 7.0 innings per start
At 30 years old, Price will continue pitching this way, at least for the near future, and he directly addresses Boston's weakness at the front of the rotation. The Red Sox didn't have an ace last season, and that didn't go so well. Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello are much better as mid-rotation pitchers and adding Price allows Boston to move the struggling Joe Kelly to the bullpen, which could revitalize his career. The trade for Craig Kimbrel will also help that unit.
Stealing Price directly from the roster of the defending AL East champion Blue Jays and not letting the Yankees sign him doesn't hurt either. Price will help the Red Sox by providing depth, excellence and reliability. Boston used 12 different starters last season, and none of them pitched at least 200 innings. The Red Sox are currently at +900 MLB odds to win the 2016 World Series at Bovada.
Giants Aim for Another Title Run
Johnny Cueto's two-hit complete game win over the Mets in Game 2 of the 2015 World Series was the highlight of his brief tenure with Royals. Now he will join the Giants after signing a six-year, $130 million contract on Monday.
Cueto was with the Reds for almost eight years and finished in the top five in the National League Cy Young race in 2012 and 2014. He finished with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts for Cincinnati last season before posting a 4.76 ERA in 13 regular season starts with Kansas City, but the Giants are aware of what he can bring to their starting rotation when pitching at his best level.
Cueto's 2.71 ERA from 2011 to 2015 is fourth-best in the Majors, only behind Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom and his WHIP of 1.08 is tied for sixth-best during that span. Opponents hit just .222 against Cueto since 2011, seventh-best in Major League Baseball.
He had his best season in 2014, when he was 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA in 34 starts over a league-most 243 2/3 innings. He also led the National League in strikeouts with 242 and allowed the fewest hits per nine innings at just 6.2. That is the Johnny Cueto that the Giants need to show up, as their starters posted a 3.95 ERA last season. The team also added Jeff Samardzija this offseason, so their current rotation features ace Madison Bumgarner, Cueto, Samardzija, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.
If Cueto and Samardzija pitch like they're capable of, their rotation could be one of the best in the majors, making them a valuable MLB pick next season. Bovada has the Giants at +600 to win the World Series next year.