So it’s not quite “a few weeks down the road,” but we got a little antsy. After all, with a large number of trades coming in the days ahead of the MLB Trade Deadline, there wasn’t as much excitement left for deadline day as years past.
Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and JD Martinez were all moved in advance; the Red Sox found their third baseman nearly last week; and the Nationals addressed their horrendous bullpen so long ago we almost forgot it happened. But if you’re into rumors, then the trade deadline still had potential to be a wild day. Unfortunately, as Jeff Clement and many others have proven, potential doesn’t always pan out.
As we predicted, none of Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, or Andrew McCutchen were traded. (We promise that’s the last time we’ll relish in our success.) But Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray, and a whole lot more pitchers were on the move, and that’s affected the World Series futures.
Keep in mind, the changes are not strictly based on today’s movement; they factor in everything that’s happened (including injuries) since our last check-in.
NB: the odds below are as of Aug. 1. [Odds from July 20 are provided for comparison in square brackets.]
AL PENNANT ODDS
- Houston Astros: 5/2 [5/2]
- New York Yankees: 5/1 [7/1]
- Cleveland Indians: 11/2 [13/2]
- Boston Red Sox: 13/2 [9/2]
- Kansas City Royals: 7/1 [19/1]
- Tampa Bay Rays: 35/1 [24/1]
- Seattle Mariners: 40/1 [33/1]
- Los Angeles Angels: 45/1 [35/1]
- Minnesota Twins: 50/1 [24/1]
- Baltimore Orioles: 75/1 [50/1]
- Toronto Blue Jays: 80/1 [40/1]
- Texas Rangers: 100/1 [40/1]
- Detroit Tigers: 300/1 [66/1]
- Oakland Athletics: 500/1 [175/1]
- Chicago White Sox: 1000/1 [200/1]
Thanks to an MLB-leading offense and fifth-ranked rotation (3.97 ERA), the Houston Astros didn’t have many needs as the trade deadline approached. They were hoping to improve the bullpen, however, and fell short on the more highly-touted relief arms. Houston was able to add Francisco Liriano, who will likely end up in their 22nd-ranked pen, eventually. The lefty has a 0.96 WHIP against left-handed batters in 18 starts with Toronto this season. It’s not a huge move, but it will help somewhat, and it’s enough to keep them steady at the top, even as their main competitors made more significant moves.
The team that improved its AL Pennant odds the most was the Yankees. After adding Todd Frazier and David Robertson in the buildup to the deadline, New York continued making moves, acquiring LHP Jaime Garcia and RHP Sonny Gray. The two starters bolster the league’s tenth-ranked rotation, and assure that the loss of Michael Pineda won’t prevent the Yankees from contending.
The Royals, who possess basically an entire roster of players in the final year of their contracts, have decided to make one more run at a championship, rather than sell everyone off now. Kansas City caught fire in June and their play convinced management to become buyers. Trailing the Indians by just two games in the Central, the additions of starter Trevor Cahill and left fielder Melky Cabrera make the Royals a team to be feared entering August.
NL PENNANT ODDS
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 5/3 [7/4]
- Chicago Cubs: 7/2 [6/1]
- Washington Nationals: 4/1 [7/2]
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 14/1 [10/1]
- Colorado Rockies: 16/1 [14/1]
- Milwaukee Brewers: 29/1 [15/1]
- St Louis Cardinals: 50/1 [33/1]
- Pittsburgh Pirates: 66/1 [50/1]
- New York Mets: 250/1 [100/1]
- Miami Marlins: 300/1 [500/1]
- Atlanta Braves: 350/1 [100/1]
- Cincinnati Reds: 1000/1 [500/1]
- San Diego Padres: 1000/1 [750/1]
- San Francisco Giants: 2000/1 [1000/1]
- Philadelphia Phillies: 3000/1 [3000/1]
The Dodgers were heavily favored to represent the NL in the World Series ahead of the trade deadline, and the additions of pitchers Yu Darvish and Tony Watson tip the scales slightly further in LA’s favor. With Clayton Kershaw dealing with a back injury, Darvish will certainly help the rotation carry on its dominance. Meanwhile, Watson adds another option to an already terrifying bullpen. This is not a team anyone wants to see in the playoffs … or on a Wednesday.
Since acquiring Jose Quintana on July 13, the Cubs have posted a 12-3 record and taken back the NL Central lead. Theo Epstein added more reinforcements ahead of the deadline, acquiring LHP Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers. The former is holding batters to a measly .157 average in 42 games this season, while the latter provides some depth behind the plate and another solid bat off the bench.
The Nationals’ odds got longer, but don’t take that the wrong way. Washington added a lot of promising arms to its bullpen, which has been a dire need all season. But with the resurgence of the Cubs, they’re no longer the NL’s favorite to take down the Dodgers.