Red Sox, Yankees Among World Series Favorites Following MLB Winter Meetings

Red Sox, Yankees Among World Series Favorites Following MLB Winter Meetings article feature image

© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

  • The 2018 MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas have ended with more rumors than actual free-agent signings and trades.
  • The major moves included the Phillies signing Andrew McCutchen, the Yankees re-signing J.A. Happ, the Indians trading Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle as part of a three-team deal and the Blue Jays releasing Troy Tulowitzki.
  • World Series odds were not greatly impacted, but oddsmakers have shifted the odds a bit more toward the four favorites: Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Astros.

The 2018 MLB winter meetings have come and gone. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unemployed for the time being, but something tells me their luck will turn around soon.

Like last year, the free-agent market appears to be on a somewhat slower track. We did, however, get a few deals that could get things moving and serve as a measuring stick for other players.

We had plenty of rumors, including a three-team Noah Syndergaard to the Yankees blockbuster, Corey Kluber to the Dodgers, and J.T. Realmuto just about anywhere except Miami.

None of those came true (yet), but the meetings did result in some pretty big transactions.

Major Moves

Phillies Sign Andrew McCutchen

The team expected to be the biggest player this offseason is the Philadelphia Phillies, and although they haven’t made the big splash they are hoping for, they made the biggest free-agent signing of the winter meetings by inking former MVP Andrew McCutchen to a 3-year, $50 million deal.

From 2013-2015, McCutchen accumulated 21.5 fWAR. From 2016-2018, he’s put up just 7.4. His MVP days are over, but he still brings an above-average bat to their lineup.

The Phillies should be far from done, as they’re looking to add rotation and bullpen help in addition to Harper/Machado hopes.

Indians Trade Edwin Encarnacion to Mariners in 3-Team Deal

Thursday afternoon, the Indians, Mariners and Rays pulled off a three-team deal in what ended up as the biggest trade of the meetings. Here’s what each team got:

  • Indians: Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers
  • Mariners: Edwin Encarnacion, Cash, Future Considerations
  • Rays: Yandy Diaz, Cole Sulser

The Indians downgrade a bit in the power department, but bring back a familiar face in Santana and save some cash.

Santana has a tremendously high walk rate and despite getting very unlucky on batted balls last year, still posted an wRC+ of 109, just six points behind Encarnacion.

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Yankees Sign J.A. Happ

This deal isn’t officially official, but it’s essentially official. Good enough for me.

The Yankees missed out on Patrick Corbin, and although they’ve already added James Paxton via trade, the team wanted to land another one of the arms on the market.

Other than Dallas Keuchel, Happ may have been the top arm remaining.

If they don’t add anyone else, their rotation could look something like:

  1. Luis Severino
  2. James Paxton
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. J.A. Happ
  5. C.C. Sabathia

If the wild Noah Syndergaard rumors come to fruition, we’re talking about a helluva staff.

Blue Jays Release Troy Tulowitzki

The Blue Jays of yesteryear are essentially gone. The Jays were willing to eat a ton of cash to let go of the aging and oft-injured shortstop, shifting their attention to what will be a talented young core, headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.

Tulowitzki played just 66 games in 2017 and missed all of last season due to bone spurs in his right ankle. Given the injuries and decline in performance once he was dealt away from Colorado, there’s no telling what his future holds.

This allows another team to take a shot at Tulowitzki for hardly any money, and it’s rumored he wants to head to California where he grew up.

The Athletics are seen to be a fit, though Tulo would probably have to shift over to second base.

Other Moves

  • Nationals trade Tanner Roark to Reds
  • Pirates trade Ivan Nova to White Sox
  • Dodgers sign Joe Kelly
  • Royals sign Billy Hamilton
  • Tigers sign Tyson Ross

Updated World Series Odds

This particular book has shifted the odds toward the four favorites a bit, while dropping back a number of the mid-tier teams and longshots. None of the aforementioned big moves single-handedly moved odds, though.

The Braves fell back toward their NL East foes, which is something I think makes sense.

Until Atlanta adds some pitching help, I don’t feel that they should be much higher than Philly or Washington — especially with the Phils in the hunt for both Machado and Harper.

It looks like oddsmakers are being a bit safe with the White Sox, who have moved from 80-1 to 66-1 since last week.

If they sign Machado or Harper and if the Indians trade away one of their starters, the White Sox will certainly finish the offseason with better than 66-1 odds.

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