MLB Offseason 2020 World Series Odds Shift Report

Major MLB Off Season Trades - Grandal White Sox, Rendon Angels, Cole Yankees

It’s safe to say that this MLB offseason has obliterated our expectations.

It took until February and into March to see baseball’s top free agents sign last offseason as both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper absolutely clogged the open market while waiting for their megadeals.

This time around, the top overall free agent Gerrit Cole agreed to a contract with the Yankees in early December and the top free agent position player, Anthony Rendon, signed with the Angels almost immediately after.

Free agents flew off the board, trades were made, super agent Scott Boras made generational money – and some – and we’re barely removed from the December MLB Winter Meetings.

With almost all of the top free agents off the board and with plenty of wheeling and dealing on the trade market in the books, I thought now would be a good time to check in with some odds shifts from the end of the World Series to what we’re seeing across sportsbooks now that the dust has somewhat settled on a vicious free agent spending spree in December.

What I wanted to do what take a look at the busiest teams so far this offseason, their odds shift, what they’ve most notably done this offseason to affect the odds shift and whether or not their current odds offer value to win the 2020 World Series.

Remember, the odds listed are average odds accumulated from a variety of online sports books.

Ready? Let’s go!

New York Yankees

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +733
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +333

What Did They Do?

Signed SP Gerrit Cole to record-breaking nine-year, $324M contract

Right here and now there’s a strong argument to be made that the Yankees have won the offseason. Yes, after some careful spending on the open market in recent years under the Steinbrenner sons, the purse strings were loosened in a big way and the Yankees became instant World Series favorites when they inked Cole to a record-breaking nine-year contract.

Cole is arguably the most dominant pitcher on the planet and appeared to reach his potential in the 2018 season after being dealt to the Astros. His 2019 walk year was even more impressive with an MLB-best 13.82 K/9 rate and a 2.50 ERA that was very much in line with his peripherals. There’s little doubt the team to beat in 2020 will be wear pinstripes.

Is There Value?

I always wrestle with the idea of value when the odds get this short in a league that has a decent amount of parity, at least at or near the top.

The Yankees will still have to get through the likes of the Astros, Twins, A’s, Rays and maybe others on the AL side of things, however the American League looks awfully worse from top to bottom than the NL again this season.

It appears that their offense is once again going to be among the best in the business and the Cole addition gives them arguably the best pitcher on the planet to slot in ahead of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton. That’s one heck of a postseason rotation.

As a result, you simply can’t say there’s no value here, but rarely does the preseason favorite actually win it all.

Los Angeles Angels

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +4400
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +2000

What Did They Do?

Signed 3B Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245M contract

Many viewed the Angels as a strong candidate to sign Cole given he’s from Southern California, however after missing out on the open market’s top pitcher, the Angels wasted little time in nabbing the market’s top position player in Rendon.

Rendon is coming off another MVP-caliber season with the Nationals and continued to line his pockets with a huge postseason en route to a World Series championship.

Over the last three seasons, the top four position players in terms of fWAR are:

  • Mike Trout (25.2)
  • Mookie Betts (22.4)
  • Christian Yelich (20.0)
  • Anthony Rendon (19.9)

He’s fully entrenched among the best handful of position players in the game and gives the Angels a championship-caliber offense heading into the 2020 campaign.

The Angels aren’t going to win anything with a 30th-ranked rotation where they finished last season, but have taken steps to address their rotation by trading from Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy and signing former Braves right-hander Julio Teheran in free agency. Along with a healthy Shohei Ohtani for next season, their rotation is certainly better, but not yet complete.

Is There Value?

You bet there is.

I mean, there has to be value when two teammates are among the four best players in baseball in recent years. The Angels are going to score a lot of runs next season, and if there rotation can find a way to the middle of the pack or better, they are going to give the Astros a serious run for their money in the AL West.

I’ll want to see another notable rotation addition, but for now I’m seeing a ton of value in those +2000 odds.

Chicago White Sox

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +6000
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +3167

What Did They Do?

Signed C Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73M contract

The White Sox have been in rebuild more for years now, but their top prospects are either already in the big leagues or set to debut in 2020, so the organization has decided to open their window of contention in 2020.

That’s what the Grandal signing did was signal their willingness to build a contender for as early as the 2020 campaign.

The discussion of the best catcher in baseball involves two names: Grandal and J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto’s 15.0 fWAR over the last three seasons is the best mark in baseball and Grandal sits a close second with a 14.0 fWAR. Third is Buster Posey with an 8.9 fWAR.

They decided to fill a position of need with the best option possible and the second-best options in all of baseball.  Grandal’s defensive acumen and pitch-framing will help prospects Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease, among others, while his bat will play well at Guaranteed Rate Field as it did in Miller Park and Dodger Stadium of late.

They also filled their right field need by acquiring a promising bat in Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for outfield prospect Steele Walker – another win-now move and signed Jose Abreu to a three-year contract extension after he accepted their qualifying offer earlier in the offseason.

Is There Value?

Whether you believe the White Sox can now hang with the Yankees, Astros, A’s, Rays, Twins etc in the AL is one thing, but they have one thing going for them and that’s the gongshow that is the AL Central Division.

The Tigers and Royals could potentially be the two worst teams in baseball while the Indians just dealt Corey Kluber away after taking missing the postseason all together. If they indeed pull the trigger on a Francisco Lindor deal, that would leave the White Sox and Twins as the only two competitive clubs in the AL Central.

As a result, a postseason appearance is a real possibility in 2020 and as the Nationals showed in 2019, all you have to do is get into the dance and go from there.

Their offense should compete, but they’ll probably need more in the rotation. Still, at these odds I see value in the improving south siders for 2020.

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +2333
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +1467

What Did They Do?

Signed SP Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118M contract

The Phillies underwhelmed on the whole after making last offseason’s biggest splash with the Bryce Harper signing, but it’s become blatantly clear that their rotation needed a big-time upgrade this offseason.

Wheeler solves a need as a 1B option to Aaron Nola atop their rotation after he spun a 3.96 ERA and 3.48 FIP last season with a career-low 2.30 BB/9 rate.

The arm is huge and can hit 100 mph when required and he’s displayed in back-to-back seasons he can stay healthy with 29 starts and 182.1 innings in 2018 and 31 starts and a career-high 195.1 frames in 2019.

Like Cole, Wheeler is somewhat of a late bloomer but hit free agency at a perfect time and figures to do plenty of his new team as soon as next season.

Signed SS Didi Gregorius to one-year, $14M contract

While they look to re-tool their rotation, the Phillies are also giving their infield a makeover in hopes of improving a disappointing offense from last season.

They cut ties with both second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco and subsequently signed Gregorius on a one-year deal to man shortstop. As a result, incumbent shortstop Jean Segura will move to third base.

Gregorius missed much of the first half of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and underwhelmed with an 84 wRC+ and a 4.9% walk rate in 82 games.

However, Gregorius’ 8.9 fWAR between the 2017 and 2018 seasons was the third-best mark among MLB shortstops behind only Lindor and Andrelton Simmons and ahead of names such as Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Javier Baez and Trea Turner, among others.

The Phillies were able to get him on a one-year deal coming off an injury-plagued, low-output season as Gregorius looks to rebuild value, but it turns out he could deliver some serious value to the Phillies’ 2020 World Series odds while he’s there.

Is There Value?

I don’t hate the value at all for what should be an improved Phillies team, but unlike the White Sox above, they’ll face some seriously stiff competition within their own division, making a playoff berth anything but guaranteed and perhaps even unlikely.

The Braves are two-time reigning NL East champs and added this offseason, the Nationals are the reigning World Series champs and still sport elite pitching despite losing Rendon in free agency and the Mets aren’t going to be a pushover, either.

Add in the Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Padres among team’s with serious postseason aspirations in a deep National League and the value with the Phillies lessens significantly.

San Diego Padres

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +4867
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +4033

What Did They Do?

Acquired OF Tommy Pham from the Rays

The move cost them the power bat of Hunter Renfroe – prospect aside – however the Padres added a super all-round bat and player to their outfield in acquiring Pham from the Tampa Bay Rays.

His on-base skills speak for themselves with a .373 career OBP, but Pham also brings a nice combination of power and speed coming off a season in which he hit 21 homers and stole 25 bases while producing an impressive 121 wRC+.

Signed RP Drew Pomeranz to four-year, $34M contract

After watching him pitch to a 1.88 ERA out of the bullpen down the stretch with the Brewers last season, the Padres reunited with Pomeranz to likely do the same for them and hope for similar results.

After spend the first half of the season as an ineffective starter with the Giants, Pomeranz became a weapon out of the bullpen for the Brewers after a trade-deadline deal sent him to Milwaukee. The move strengths to Padres’ bullpen to be sure.

Acquired SP Zach Davies and OF Trent Grisham from the Brewers

Padres general manager AJ Preller must have watched the Brewers plenty down the stretch last season as he sent left-handed starter Eric Lauer and young second baseman Luis Urias to the Brewers in exchange for right-handed starter Zach Davies and young outfielder Trent Grisham.

Grisham is part of the re-tooled outfield while Davies is coming off a career-year in which he pitched to a 3.55 ERA, albeit alongside some iffy peripherals and a tiny 5.75 K/9 rate.

Acquired 2B Jurickson Profar from the A’s

After trading Urias to the Brewers, the Padres filled their hole at the keystone by trading for switch-hitting second baseman Jurickson Profar from the A’s.

Profar hit 20 homers and stole nine bases last season, but his 89 wRC+ left something to be desired. Still, he’s just one season removed form a quality 107 wRC+ and 2.8 fWAR, so the Padres will look for more of the 2018 version of the former top prospect in 2020

Is There Value?

This isn’t a huge odds shift but the Padres deserved to be on this list as perhaps the busiest team of the offseason so far.

That said, I like what they’re doing as long as they find a way to get some starting pitching before opening day.

Their rotation was anchored by standout rookie Chris Paddack at the top, however they’re in need of some rotation help to slot in alongside likely member Davies, Garrett Richards, Joey Lucchesi and perhaps Dinelson Lamet.

With many of the top starters off the open market, the Padres could look into the trade market to find a rotation upgrade or two, but their 18th-ranked 4.66 ERA is going to need to improve to challenge for a postseason spot in a difficult NL.

Cincinnati Reds

  • Opening 2020 World Series Odds: +3867
  • Current 2020 World Series Odds: +3667

What Did They Do?

Signed 2B/3B Mike Moustakas to four-year, $64M contract

In a turn of events, the Reds pitching was among the league’s best last season, however their offense couldn’t take advantage and they failed to make any noise in a difficult NL Central as a result.

However, with Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo set to anchor the rotation again this season, the Reds did some offensive shopping and landed the power bat of Moustakas in free agency.

The left-handed power stroke for the 31-year-old will fit well in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, similar to Miller Park in Milwaukee which helped Moustakas post a career-best 38 home runs in 2019.

With 40-homer man  Eugenio Suarez manning third, Moustakas is set to play second base full-time next season and could be the power bat the turns the Reds offense into a dangerous one in 2020.

Signed SP Wade Mikey to two-year, $15M contract

It’s not a ground-breaking move, but the Mikey signing stabilizes their rotation again this season after he pitched to a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts with the Astros a season ago.

It’s a low-key addition, however it gives the Reds a proven rotation member to ensure their starting pitching remains strong again next season.

Is There Value?

To me, the Reds had value last season with improvements to their rotation, but their offense killed any chance they had at delivering any of that value potential.

Now that we know the pitching should once again be there, and the offense has received big-time upgrade that should fit will in their home park, I am once again on the Reds bandwagon and I think they can make a move in what looks like a murky NL Central with the Cubs and Brewers perhaps taking a step back in 2020.

Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.