Over 20 former All-Stars changed hands over the last week, including Troy Tulowitzki, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, Ben Zobrist, Jose Reyes, Jonathan Papelbon and Carlos Gomez. The deadline has now come and gone, which gives us an opportunity to evaluate the five teams who best positioned themselves for the stretch run with the moves that they've made, and how this has affected their odds to win as perceived by the bookmakers.
Toronto is currently in the midst of the longest postseason drought in professional baseball, having failed to reach the playoffs since Joe Carter's dramatic World Series clinching home run in 1993. With a soft division and a run differential that indicates future success, the Blue Jays decided to go all in for a postseason run.
The Blue Jays landed Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, who were arguably the best position player and pitcher available on the trade market. In addition, Tulowitzki's deal places him under team control for the remainder of the decade. Their bullpen also received a much needed shot in the arm with the acquisitions of LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe.
They've also upgraded their fourth outfielder slot by acquiring Ben Revere and while they were three games back in the wild card entering Friday's slate of games, the Twins have outperformed all statistical expectations, leaving the door open for a Toronto playoff push. According to Baseball Prospectus, their postseason odds stand at 48.2 percent, doubling the odds BP has given for Minnesota and Baltimore's chances of entering the playoffs.
According to The Bovada Sportsbook, the Blue Jay's latest odds to win the 2015 World Series: +3300
The Royals, not content with their dominance of the American League, made two bold moves to bring in the best ace/bat combination outside of Toronto. Johnny Cueto, who will be making his Royals debut against those aforementioned Blue Jays, has been one of the best pitchers in the game over the past five years, with an ERA+ over 800 innings that ranks second only to Clayton Kershaw.
With Alex Gordon heading to the disabled list with a groin injury, Ben Zobrist is able to serve a viable replacement and has similar positional versatility. He will likely spend time at both outfield corners, as well as third base, which happen to be the Royals' biggest areas of weakness.
While there isn't any doubt that Kansas City improved with the 2015 MLB Trade Deadline, the addition of Cueto is yet to be calibrated. Cueto did not factor in his first start as a Royal. But with the historic results of NL pitchers' numbers declining when moving to the American League, only time will tell. Meanwhile, Kansas City lost that first Cueto start to, surprise surprise, the Toronto Blue Jays.
According to The Bovada Sportsbook, the Royals' latest odds to win the 2015 World Series: +400
The Dodgers did not participate in many deals, but they made their presence felt at the trade deadline by facilitating a 13 player blockbuster that allowed them to fortify the back end of a rotation that has looked shaky of late. Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are done for the year with arm injuries, so enter Mat Latos and Alex Wood.
Wood still has four team controlled years left on his current contract and the Dodgers' wobbly bullpen was also addressed with the acquisitions of Luis Avilan and the recently rejuvenated Jim Johnson. The Dodgers fortified their future infield by snagging highly regarded 21 year old prospect Jose Pereza, who is projected to fight for a starting job as early as next year.
Best of all? The best player the Dodgers surrendered in this trade with the Marlins was Hector Olivera, who is already 30 years old, has never played a game on the major league level and has a long track record of injuries.
According to The Bovada Sportsbook, the Dodgers' latest odds to win the 2015 World Series: +700
The Astros have been one of this season's surprise contenders, having risen from the ashes of a 92 loss season to engage in battle with the Angels for the AL West pennant. After having led the division race for much of the campaign, the Angels finally slipped past the 'Stros to take over first place on July 12.
However, the organization did not allow their confidence in their up and coming to waiver one bit. They joined the arms race late last Thursday night, acquiring Scott Kazmir, a native of Houston, from the floundering Oakland A's. As an added bonus, Kazmir arrived just in time to lead his new team to victory against the surging Kansas City Royals on the following night.
Kazmir has led the Astros back into first place, twirling a 7 2/3 inning scoreless gem to top the Angels on Thursday. The Astros were also the beneficiaries of the failed Carlos Gomez Mets trade, snagging the coveted slugger, along with reliever Mike Fiers. With Jake Marisnick slumping, Gomez represents a major upgrade.
The Astros are now in a great position to reach the postseason and with a stocked farm system, young talent base and Gomez/Kazmir under team control for this season and beyond, Houston is poised to contend for the foreseeable future.
According to The Bovada Sportsbook, the Astros' latest odds to win the 2015 World Series: +1200
For a team that has been limited in the moves that they are able to make, due to the impact of the Madoff Ponzi scheme on the pocketbooks of the Wilbons, the Mets did well to add Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and Tyler Clippard. It was a great recovery after the humiliation of the Carlos Gomez trade that wasn't and the resulting Wilmer Flores crying jag that took place on the field.
The Mets were beginning to develop an earned reputation for never taking the next step, for never making the moves needed for a true postseason run. The team needed bats to provide run support for their formidable pitching staff and retaining the services of Zack Wheeler while adding three bats to their lineup of banjo hitters is a huge boon to the franchise's outlook.
Clippard's acquisition is already paying dividends, due to the Mejia suspension and while Uribe and Johnson may not play together everyday, they provide a much needed spark to an offense that had become moribund, ranking last in the majors for runs scored. While some may not be impressed with these acquisitions out of context, for a team that has been accused of being cash poor and unable to make the big moves, adding four front line players during a season when the NL East title is up for grabs could serve as a turning point.
According to The Bovada Sportsbook, the Mets' latest odds to win the 2015 World Series: +1800
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