Winning the non-waiver trade deadline has resulted in the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers climbing up the odds to win the 2016 World Series, although the Chicago Cubs retain the top betting line at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Cubs are listed at +350, which is no surprise for a team which has the highest run differential in Major League Baseball and has led the NL Central division since April 11. Chicago’s big move before the deadline expired on Monday was trading for left-handed closer Aroldis Chapman. A team can never have too many options in the bullpen, and the Cubs also added lefty specialist Mike Montgomery and sidearmer Joe Smith.
The Rangers’ odds have come down to +650 after GM Jon Daniels brought in OF Carlos Beltran and C Jonathan Lucroy. Beltran offers a middle-of-the-order masher, while Lucroy is an all-star catcher who should offer a benefit to the Rangers’ pitchers. Texas didn’t land a starting pitcher, though, and it’s fair to wonder if that will bite them in the long run.
The San Francisco Giants are also listed at +650 after adding Matt Moore to be the second lefty in their starting rotation. The Giants are in a NL West division race with the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1600). The Dodgers responded to ace Clayton Kershaw going on the disabled list by going 18-10 in July, but that could be hard to sustain. There is no ETA on Kershaw’s possible return this season.
Cleveland is listed at +750 after acquiring LHP Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees, giving them a high-end reliever to close out wins for a deep ensemble of starters. The prospect of Cleveland possibly having home-field advantage throughout the postseason, when pitching dominates in chilly conditions, makes them an enticing betting possibility.
The Washington Nationals, who lead the NL East and own MLB’s second-greatest run differential, are also listed at +750. Washington added a big name by getting closer Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates as a rental player.
Over in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays have the lowest odds at +900, with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles’ odds rising to +1200 and +1600 respectively. Toronto stuck to buy-low moves, trading with the Pirates for LHP Francisco Liriano, who is leading the NL in bases on balls but will be reunited with former personal catcher Russell Martin.
Speaking of buying low, there are the defending NL champion New York Mets at +2800, whose best-case scenario for the playoffs probably involves the one-game wild-card series. The Mets pushed their chips in to add lefty power by picking up OF Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds. Bruce’s road split is better than his stats at Great American Ball Park, so moving to Citi Field shouldn’t hurt his productivity.