Posted on January 1, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
Unlike in recent years, the MLB hot stove has been on fire during the early part of the offseason. New Year’s Day is upon us and most of the top free agents on the market have signed. There are still plenty of players who could change teams before the start of the season, but there has been enough movement to shake up the outlook for the 2020 season. With that in mind, now seems like a good time to take an updated look at the 2020 World Series betting odds.
After losing to the Astros in the ALCS last year, the Yankees signed away Houston ace Gerrit Cole to give their rotation a much-needed boost. New York has been otherwise quiet this winter, but other than a true ace, the Yankees weren’t missing much in 2019. Now they have Cole and will presumably get a full year from Luis Severino, and those two could end up making a massive difference for the Bronx Bombers.
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The Dodgers have made little noise during the offseason, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still the favorites in the National League. The Los Angeles lineup is loaded while the rotation has several frontline starters. It’s not out of the question for the Dodgers to make a big move before the season to help them win their eighth straight NL West title and finally win a World Series.
Outside of losing Cole, the Astros look more or less the same as they did in Game 7 of the World Series. They will remain favorites to run away with the AL West behind one of the best lineups in baseball. Keep in mind the Astros still have Zack Greinke to help fill the void left by Cole, so there shouldn’t be much of a drop-off in 2020.
How Atlanta replaces third baseman Josh Donaldson remains to be seen. But the Braves have improved their rotation with Cole Hamels and upgraded their bullpen with Will Smith. They’ve also worked hard to keep the rest of their team intact and could still re-sign Donaldson, putting them in a good position to retain their NL East crown and compete for the pennant.
Philadelphia spent big last winter and ended up being a huge disappointment. But they’re going to load up and try again, adding Zack Wheeler to their rotation and signing shortstop Didi Gregorius. Perhaps more importantly, they brought in veteran manager Joe Girardi to help guide them to the postseason.
Offensively, the Cardinals still have a lot to be desired. But the St. Louis pitching staff was good enough to get the Cardinals to the NLCS last year and they remain one of the best in baseball. The Cardinals could be even better this year if they can stay healthy, so don’t count out St. Louis, especially if they can find a way to improve their lineup in 2020.
Red Sox, 20-1
The Red Sox could be an intriguing sleeper pick in 2020. They’ve been overlooked and haven’t made any big moves this winter. But the lineup is largely the same as it was when Boston won the World Series two years ago. The bullpen remains a question mark, but the rest of the Red Sox roster has championship potential.
The Nationals managed to retain Stephen Strasburg, which keeps intact the amazing rotation that led them to glory in 2019. Washington is yet to address a troublesome bullpen or the vacancy at third base left by Anthony Rendon. But the Nationals still have a lot of pieces in place that helped them win the World Series last year.
The Mets were quietly in contention last September and have made several incremental moves this winter. Dellin Betances should improve a much-maligned bullpen, especially if closer Edwin Diaz can have a bounce-back year. Offensively, the Mets were fine last year and retain most of the same players. They also have six proven starters and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom, so the Mets should have one of the best rotations in the National League to help put them in a position to reach the postseason and be a threat if they can get there.
Few teams have done more to improve themselves this winter than the Angels. It starts with Rendon, who will provide great protection for Mike Trout and Justin Upton. The Halos have also made modest improvements to their rotation and remain hopeful that Shohei Ohtani can return to the mound more than a year after Tommy John surgery.