Now that the MLB trading deadline has passed, who were the biggest winners and losers and how did the deadline transactions affect the World Series Future Odds?
The MLB trading deadline has finally come and gone and as usual there was a furry of activity in the final days and even the final minutes before the deadline, with many big-named players involved. Thus some of the deals had big and immediate impacts on the MLB odds on World Series Futures.
So now we take a look at who the winners and losers were now that the dust has settled and we also present the current revised World Series Future Odds, courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook. Note that a couple of teams we listed as “Losers” are there more so because of inactivity relative to other teams inside their division that actually being worse roster-wise after the deadline.
So with no further ado, here are our winners and losers following the July 31st, 2015 MLB trading deadline with new World Series odds from 5 Dimes.
Toronto Blue Jays (+1300): The Blue Jays were probably the biggest winners of all as they picked up one of the best hitters in the game in Troy Tulowitzki, a former Cy Young Award winner to head the starting rotation in David Price and a couple of other nice pieces in the speedy Ben Revere and middle reliever Mark Lowe, each of whom improved a team need. Thus the World Series odds for Toronto were practically slashed in half from +2500 to +1300, and understandably so. Toronto was already the best hitting team in the Major Leagues vs. left-handed pitchers even before getting Tulowitzki, batting .285 and averaging 5.59 runs per game vs. southpaws, and Price gives them a bona fide ace that was having another fine season for the Detroit Tigers at 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA and 138 strikeouts vs. 29 walks in 146 innings. The Blue Jays seem to be well positioned to make up their six-game deficit as of this writing behind the first place New York Yankees in the American League East.
Houston Astros (+1400): The Houston Astros were supposed to be improved this year, but few people expected them to be leading the American League West for virtually the entire season until the very last day before the All-Star break. Then, just as it looked they were ready to fade away after being surpassed by what was a very hot Los Angeles Angels team, the Astros swept a crucial three-game series head-to-head to retake the division lead. And now, Houston might be favored to win the division after acquiring a big bat in Carlos Gomez and an underrated starting pitcher in Mike Fiers from the Milwaukee Brewers without trading away anyone from the Major League roster. Gomez is a five-tool player that does everything well while Fires is better than his 5-9 record as he has a 3.89 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 118 innings. The Future Odds on the Astros went from +2000 to +1400, which currently looks like decent value.
Kansas City Royals (+475): The Royals are the defending American League Champions, but sportsbooks were not impressed as they set the Kansas City win-total at just 80½ prior to this season. Well, they have defied all of their skeptics by posting the best record in the American League and they were well on their way to their first division title in 30 years, as they were a wild card when they reached the World Series last season. However, their starting rotation was still a weak spot, and they addressed that by acquiring Johnny Cueto from the Reds. Cueto finished second in the National League Cy Young voting behind Clayton Kershaw last year and he was having another excellent season despite being only 7-6 for Cincinnati this year, as he had a 2.62 ERA and a fantastic ratio of 120 strikeouts vs. 29 walks. They also added second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist, a nice bat that should end up bumping the light-hitting Omar Infante from the lineup. And just like that, Kansas City leapfrogged the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals on the World Series Futures and is now the favorite to win it all at +475.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+625): Interestingly, as of this writing, the Future Odds for the Dodgers have not shifted in the past couple of days despite the fact that they upgraded their pitching depth by acquiring Mat Latos and Alex Wood. Los Angeles has had the best 1-2 punch in the Major Leagues all season long in Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but the rest of the starting rotation was in a bit of shambles and could have been the one thing that prevented a championship run, despite the fact that they were the favorites to win the World Series a couple of days before the trading deadline. So they upgraded their third and fourth starters rather dramatically, but then fall to second choice to win it all? It is worth noting that the only reason for that is because the Royals did more in the books’ eyes to improve their team with the acquisition of Cueto, but we still feel the Dodgers have crossed over from being overvalued when they lacked rotation depth to being undervalued right now.
New York Mets (+1800): Moving on to a couple of longshots, the Mets have a young pitching staff that is the envy of other organizations everywhere, a staff that barring injury should continually keep the Mets in playoff contention for the next decade. The problem though is the offense, as New York is dead last in the Major Leagues in runs scored (3.54 per game), batting average (.234) and team OPS (.662). However, they took a major step in rectifying that by acquiring Yoenis Cespedes in literally the final minutes before the deadline, and the fact that they were able to do so without giving up coveted starter Zack Wheeler makes that a double bonus. The Mets would be dangerous in a short playoff series just because of their rotation alone, and if Cespedes is able to spur the offense in a National League East where the Washington Nationals are hardly running away with things, then look out at +1800!
San Francisco Giants (+1400): Another longshot worth watching is the defending champion Giants, although they are not as big longshots as a few days ago at +1400. While the Dodgers are getting most of the press clippings, the Giants have rather quietly been right on their heels and they now received some needing pitching help before the deadline in the form of Mike Leake. Granted this does not seem like a trendy acquisition at first glance, but Leake has had a solid career while pitching at the launching pad that is known as Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, a stadium that has yielded the most home runs in the Major Leagues since the date it opened. Now, Leake should be even better moving to a spacious, pitcher’s park in AT&T Park. Also, San Francisco has a better defensive infield than the Reds had, and Leake should appreciate that given his heavy sinker has produced a very good 51.5 percent groundball rate.
Detroit Tigers (+5000): If you look at the American League wild card standing as of the writing of this articles, you would see that the Tigers are 3½ games out of the second wild card spot. And yet, the Tigers were definite sellers at the trading deadline siphoning away their ace Price, a big run producer in Cespedes and their closer Joakim Soria (to the Pittsburgh Pirates). That seems like a curious decision, but perhaps this franchise has been spoiled by being one of the more successful teams in the American League in recent seasons as Detroit has been the American League Central Champion each of the last four years. Regardless of reason, management publicly stated that the Tigers are “rebooting” for next season , so do not be fooled into thinking +5000 is great value for a team that is 3½ games away from the playoffs, as Detroit should only go backwards the remainder of this year.
New York Yankees (+950): The Yankees rose from +800 to +950 after doing virtually nothing other than acquiring second baseman Dustin Ackley, even though they currently lead the AL East by six games. That obviously speaks more about all the improvements that the Blue Jays made, but that is a good enough reason for us to avoid the Yankees right now as they may have overachieved in what was a weak division to this point, which may no longer be the case with Toronto becoming a legitimate pennant contender.
Tampa Bay Rays (+4500): Similarly, the odds on Tampa Bay rose more because of omission of action rather than actually getting worse. Then again, maybe they did get a tad worse by losing some depth by trading away David DeJesus and Kevin Jepsen. And do not forget that the share the AL East with the Blue Jays (and Yankees). We would avoid the temptation and avoid the Rays, even at these monstrous odds.