Posted on December 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Chicago Cubs have the distinct honor of spending this Christmas Day as World Series champions. One can only imagine how nice it must be to celebrate the holiday season as a reigning world champion. The Cubs have the honor this season, but it could be a different team basking in that glory this time next year. Even with plenty of the offseason left to unfold, here are the top betting favorites to spend next Christmas as World Series champions.
Blue Jays – 20 to 1
The Blue Jays need to replace Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista in their lineup, but they have added Kendrys Morales and are still looking for another outfielder. Toronto also has one of the top rotations in the American League, even if their bullpen is solid if unspectacular. Remember, this team has been to the ALCS two straight years, so they’re definitely capable of taking that next step.
Mets – 18 to 1
Even with Yoenis Cespedes staying in New York, the Mets don’t have a great offensive team. However, if their starting rotation can stay healthy, it’s capable of being the best in baseball and carrying the team to the World Series, as was the case in 2015. Of course, betting on pitchers to stay healthy is far from a sure thing.
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Giants – 14 to 1
San Francisco appears to have fixed some of their bullpen issues with the signing of Mark Melancon. A better bullpen certainly would have given them a chance to advance to the NLCS last year, and so even if they don’t make any other big moves this winter, they should be one of the better teams in the N.L. next year.
Yankees – 14 to 1
The Yankees are going to rely on young players like Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Aaron Judge to fill big roles in 2017, while and their rotation also has some question marks. However, New York’s bullpen is in great shape with the return of Aroldis Chapman, and the Yankees definitely have the potential to make some noise in 2017.
Dodgers – 14 to 1
Los Angeles has re-signed Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, and Justin Turner, so the 2017 Dodgers will look a lot like the 2016 Dodgers. There are some holes on the roster, but the Dodgers have elite pitching and plenty of young talent, putting them on par or better with most National League teams.
Astros – 12 to 1
The Astros have made some big moves this offseason, adding Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, and Carlos Beltran, giving them one of the most dangerous looking lineups in baseball. Whether Houston has the pitching to match its offensive prowess remains to be seen, but they look real good heading into 2017, at least on paper.
Indians – 12 to 1
The addition of Edwin Encarnacion could make the Indians even better on offense in 2017 than they were in 2016. Cleveland also has one of the best rotations in baseball and a dynamic bullpen. Had Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar been healthy for the postseason, the World Series could have easily ended with a different result, and so the Indians have to be one of the leading favorites to return to the Fall Classic and win the second time around, much like the Royals in 2014 and 2015.
Nationals – 9 to 1
Washington has one of the best rosters in baseball and they may not be finished making moves this winter. When healthy, the duo of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg is capable of carrying a team, and despite postseason failures in the past, the Nationals will be a threat in 2017.
Red Sox – 11 to 2
The addition of Chris Sale has made the Red Sox the top favorites in the American League. Between the much improved rotation with the presence of Sale and the young talent Boston already had in place, the Red Sox have all the ingredients of a championship team.
Cubs – 15 to 4
The core of the team that won the 2016 World Series is still in Chicago, making the Cubs favorites to repeat in 2017. The Cubs still have a deep rotation, several all-star caliber position players, and a strong bullpen that’s been rebuilt this winter. Outside of the possibility of complacency, it’s difficult to find too many glaring weaknesses for the Cubs heading into 2017.