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Allen’s Early MLB Future Moves Preview

Written by Jeff Allen of Jeff Allen Sports

With pitchers and catchers just a little more than a month (February 20th) away, MLB season is right around the corner. If you’re serious about making money in the summer, you need to start doing your basic roadwork now with football over and the college hoops finally in conference play. A cursory look at the future will give you a basic idea of who made moves over the summer and who sat pat or held a fire sale. For example, the Red Sox were a 71 win ball club last year but went out and made a bunch of moves and are now favored to win the A.L. East, a 6/1 third choice behind the Angels and Tigers to win the American League and just 12/1 to win it all. On the opposite side of the spectrum you have the 88-win playoff entry Oakland A’s making a complete salary dump and find themselves 50/1 to win the American League and 100/1 to win the Fall Classic. Below, Allen takes a look at three teams (Cubs, Padres, Red Sox) that were busy during the winter and how that will reflect in their future book odds.

Odds to win the 2015 World Series

Westgate, Las Vegas … formerly the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book
Odds good as of January 15, 2015

Los Angeles Dodgers 6/1
Los Angeles Angels 7/1
Washington Nationals 8/1
Detroit Tigers 10/1
Boston Red Sox 12/1
Seattle Mariners 12/1
St Louis Cardinals 12/1
Baltimore Orioles 16/1
Chicago Cubs 16/1
Atlanta Braves 20/1
Cleveland Indians 20/1
Kansas City Royals 20/1
New York Yankees 20/1
San Francisco Giants 20/1
New York Mets  25/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 25/1
Toronto Blue Jays 25/1
Chicago White Sox 30/1
Texas Rangers 30/1
San Diego Padres 40/1
Miami 40/1
Milwaukee Brewers 50/1
Cincinnati 60/1
Tampa Bay 75/1
Arizona 100/1
Colorado 100/1
Houston 100/1
Oakland 100/1
Minnesota 200/1
Philadelphia 200/1

Boston Red Sox 12/1): The Red Sox had pretty much thrown in the towel on 2014 by the All-Star Break but GM Ben Cherington did a nice job in putting the franchise in a solid position to wheel and deal in the off season. Not thinking he could sign ace Jon Lester in his walk year, he traded Lester to the A’s for power hitting left fielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Home Run Derby champion still had another year on his contract but was not happy as a BoSox so Cherington sent him to the Tigers for Rick Porcello while also picking up two other solid arms in Wade Miley (via trade) and signing Justin Masterson away from Cleveland. Within two weeks of the World Series ending, the Red Sox had also completely replaced the left side of its infield signing enigmatic shortstop Hanley Ramirez away from the Dodgers and then grabbing the Kung Fu Panda (third baseman, Pablo Sandoval) away from the World Champion Giants. Boston may be looking for bullpen help in spring training but based on their winter signings, the Red Sox have to be favorites to win  the very doable AL East and make some noise in the playoffs.

Chicago Cubs (16/1): The loveable losers haven’t been in the World Series since 1908 but with ex-Red Sox GM Theo Epstein putting a plan in place and stockpiling young talent, the Blue Bears are suddenly not that  far away. To go along with all their good young kids that got lots of playing time the last two years, the Cubs acquired a young power hitting catcher Miguel Montero from the DBacks. Montero averaged a respectable .245 with 14 bombs a year and might be tailor made for Wrigley Field. The Cubs also picked up the most coveted free agent in baseball signing the aforementioned Jon Lester to a six-year deal worth a reported $155 million. Lester is an ace that will give you 16-18 wins and 190-200 innings and provide a big 1-2 punch with  the Northside’s other stud starter Jake  Arrieta. Most important of all was prying manager Joe Maddon away from Tampa Bay.. The old adage is that even the best managers, the Joe Torre/Tony LaRussas of the world are only worth five wins. Joe Maddon is worth five wins. Nobody gets more from less than Maddon who keeps every one of his 25 players involved during the season. He’s also great with young players with his quirky mad  scientist kind of way. The Cubs don’t offer much value at this downgraded price but with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh taking personnel hit, it wouldn’t take much for the Cubs to sneak into a wild card. All you need to do is get into the dance.

San Diego Padres (40/1): The low budget Padres haven’t been very active in free agency the last couple of years and that has translated to losing records and long years. The Friars always seem to have good young pitching but last year’s edition didn’t hit a lick in the first half and buried the team early. San Diego’s big move was trading for  Matt Kemp who was presumably happy to get out of L.A. The Padres also brought in a bat to hit ahead of Kemp when the traded for Wil Myers from Tampa Bay. Myers has been “the next big thing” for a couple years and came over to Tampa Bay from Kansas City in the trade for “Big Game” James Shields. Myers was AL Rookie-of-the-Year in 2013 and the 24-year-old could be the centerpiece for the franchise for years to come. The Pads are reportedly in the mix for Cole Hamels and Max Scherzer. As they stand now, the Padres are not likely to crack to the Dodgers/Giants stranglehold on the West but it also appears that they’re not done dealing. Lets take a wait and see approach with the Padres.

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