Posted on August 2, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Things started slowly, but eventually there was plenty of action at the MLB Trade Deadline this year. Some teams made bold moves while others didn’t do anything at all, which is particularly important with no August waiver trades this year. Naturally, World Series betting odds received a bit of a shakeup following the trade deadline. Let’s take a look at the updated World Series odds of the top contenders as we start to head down the stretch.
The Astros catapulted themselves to betting favorites with the acquisition of Greinke. With Greinke, who’s having a great season, lined up as the no. 3 starter in Houston’s rotation behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, the Astros have a lethal rotation. It’s hard to find a rotation that can match up against Houston’s over seven games. The Astros also improved their bullpen and have one of the best lineups in baseball.
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The Dodgers were a disappointment at the deadline, not doing enough to improve their bullpen, which is one of their only weaknesses. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles is deep, especially if Rich Hill returns, and the Dodgers can mash as well as any team, so they remain National League favorites.
After doing nothing at the deadline, the Yankees are no longer World Series favorites. New York’s rotation has looked shaky recently, and so has the bullpen with Aroldis Chapman’s recent struggles. The pitching staff is talented enough to turn things around, but it looks more and more likely that the Yankees will have to slug their way to a championship.
Atlanta was one of the biggest winners at the deadline. With trades for Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, and Chris Martin, they turned a decent but sometimes unreliable bullpen into one of the deepest in baseball. The rest of the team is in good shape as well, but their bullpen now looks like a difference maker that can win games in October.
The Cubs made some under-the-radar but important moves. The addition of Nick Castellanos got lost in the shuffle, but he adds depth to their lineup. Tony Kemp will be a versatile bench piece and David Phelps could help the bullpen. Those are three moves that made them incrementally better and could help Chicago win the NL Central and avoid the Wild Card Game.
Minnesota added some depth to their bullpen at the deadline, but that was it. With the Indians gaining ground, the Twins probably needed to upgrade their rotation, especially with the Astros being the new team to beat. Nevertheless, they have good balance and may have enough to hold off Cleveland and win the division.
St. Louis didn’t do much of anything at the deadline, which could be a problem in a three-team race in the NL Central. It doesn’t help that the Cubs got a little better in several areas. That being said, the Cardinals have three regulars on the IL, most notably Marcell Ozuna, so they should improve down the stretch as they get healthy.
The Indians took a huge risk at the deadline, trading away Trevor Bauer in order to improve their lineup. The move is largely contingent on starters like Corey Kluber returning from injury. If they can get healthy, the Indians have a rotation that could overtake the Twins, especially if Franmil Reyes and Yasiel Puig can make an impact offensively.
Tampa made a few small moves to gain some versatility, further lengthen their bullpen, and get a right-handed bat with some power in Jesus Aguilar. The problem for the Rays is that it’s Wild Card or bust. They also need Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow to come back healthy in September if they hope to get to October.
Red Sox, 30-1
Boston did nothing at the deadline, and that could be a problem for the defending champs. The bullpen is a problem and they’ve slipped in the Wild Card standings over the past week. It doesn’t look like a repeat is in the cards.
The Nationals should be applauded for improving their bullpen. However, their moves look meager compared to how the Braves improved their bullpen. Washington’s deadline additions may not be enough to completely fix a bullpen that has been terrible most of the season.
Milwaukee’s moves were that of a team trying to stay afloat rather than a team trying to compete. They added depth to their pitching staff to compensate for some recent injuries, but no one that figures to make a huge impact. There’s now a lot of pressure on Christian Yelich and the offense to carry the Brewers back to the postseason, which is why their World Series odds aren’t looking so good.