Dodgers Sign Trevor Bauer: 3 Bets To Make With Spring Training Approaching
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Trevor Bauer.
With news breaking Friday afternoon that Trevor Bauer is signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, virtually all the free agent chips of this long, drawn-out MLB offseason have been played.
Sure, there’s still the likes of Marcell Ozuna, Justin Turner, Jake Odorizzi and others waiting to be signed, but in terms of real impact transactions — odds-changing transactions — what we see is what we’re going to get.
So with that said, our experts took a look at some of the MLB Team Futures that are out there. Where can you find value with spring training just a few weeks away?
Los Angeles Dodgers To Win World Series (+375, DraftKings)
Matthew Trebby: The Dodgers’ current +375 odds on DraftKings indicate about a 21% chance they repeat as World Series champions.
For a team that has made three of the last four World Series, has the best pitching rotation in baseball and an offense that finished second in OPS during last year’s 60-game “season,” that still seems pretty reasonable.
No team in the NL, aside from potentially the Padres, can match the Dodgers’ balance around the diamond. Los Angeles posted a 3.02 ERA last season, the best in the National League by a staggering 0.82. Adding Bauer, even if you think he’s overrated with a career ERA of 3.90, and the returning David Price is a huge boost with the return to a 162-game season.
While the lineup could use the return of free agent Justin Turner or another similar bat at either corner-infield spot, I’ll take Los Angeles’ experience at this point to win the World Series at these odds again.
Given the top-heavy nature of MLB right now, the Padres at +800 are probably the next best value based on talent alone. But the rich have gotten richer. It’s tough to bet against Los Angeles at this point.
St. Louis Cardinals To Win World Series (+2400, FanDuel)
Collin Whitchurch: At +160 to win the NL Central, the Cardinals have longer odds than any team currently favored to win its division.
In one respect, this makes sense. The NL Central seems to be the weakest division in baseball as we enter spring training, and no team has truly separated itself. On the other hand, the Cardinals are the only team in this division that seems to have any interest in competing in 2021.
On paper, the Brewers, Reds or Cubs might be somewhat close to the Cardinals in true talent right now, but it’s tough to imagine that staying the case as the season gets going, particularly when you factor in that the latter two seem to be actively looking to shed salary.
With more than half the division tanking or seemingly headed toward that path, the chances of the Cardinals making the playoffs seem at or better than the 38.5% implied odds that +160 makes them.
If you’re assuming the Cardinals are a virtual shoo-in to qualify for the playoffs (I am), 24-1 to win the World Series is just too high. Anyone can win in October, thus I will happily align myself with the Cardinals and let their Devil Magic go to work.
San Diego Padres To Win NL West (+210, FanDuel)
Tommy Stokke: I think the biggest overreaction to the Bauer signing is in the NL West odds. The Dodgers are as high as -300 to win the division at BetMGM. That’s an awfully big price to pay when there’s a team like the Padres in the division. San Diego might be just as good as LA this year. There’s depth and versatility throughout the roster, star power to carry the load and a loaded farm system for reinforcements. Sounds like the Dodgers, right? But how hard does Clayton Kershaw get pushed? What does David Price look like with a year off — if they don’t trade him first? Who plays third base if Justin Turner isn’t back?
Even if this is the Dodgers team — plus Turner — we see in 2021, I’ll take the team with motivation to prove something in San Diego rather than the team coming off a championship that’s been a long time coming. It’s difficult to quantify that motivation — and teams like the Astros have shown a championship hangover isn’t always the case — but that possibility paired with the overall roster of the Padres is enough for me to take +210 to win the NL West at FanDuel.