Now that last week's Winter Meetings are over, baseball's front-office types are probably more focused on picking up the pieces that make their family members happy at Christmas rather than those pieces that make fans happy on opening day. We might not see anything happen for the next few days, so here's some stuff to keep you occupied.
Since the only Angels' news I could find concerns Josh Hamilton (see below), today's Halolinks have been hijacked by baseball odds.
- Obviously the off-season free agent/trading frenzy isn't over, there's still a few good players available to sign and I'm sure deals to be made, but after last week, there are teams who have improved and, conversely, gotten worse. The White Sox were one of the teams who made a couple of big splashes recently, but it might not be enough: The White Sox Still Aren’t a Very Good Team - FanGraphs Baseball, "And I guess the ultimate point is the White Sox have real World Series odds now, where a month or so ago they stood at basically 0%. I don’t see them as a very good team, despite everything, but they’re obviously better and they didn’t lose too much, given the protected first-round draft pick." Since Jeff Sullivan brought up World Series odds, and an email showing how much each team's chances have changed, here are the current odds:
Week 10/30/14 Odds Current Odds Los Angeles Dodgers 15/2 15/2 Boston Red Sox 22/1 9/1 Washington Nationals 10/1 15/2 Chicago Cubs 50/1 12/1 Detroit Tigers 10/1 12/1 Los Angeles Angels 10/1 12/1 San Francisco Giants 12/1 14/1 Seattle Mariners 18/1 14/1 St. Louis Cardinals 12/1 14/1
Some of you may be wondering why Vegas odds are relevant, but think of it this way...many people and websites publish their predictions as to who they think will win in the upcoming season, but none of them have money riding on their predictions. Las Vegas odds makers literally have millions of dollars riding on the accuracy of their work, in a sense, they're putting their money where their mouth is.
Anyway, how 'bout those Cubs! Las Vegas gives them the same chance of winning the Series as they do the Angels. I realize the Jon Lester signing isn't the only reason for the dramatic change, but it makes me curious as to how much of an impact Lester would have had had he signed with the Angels. And what's going on in Seattle? Should we Halo fans be worried? By the way, the White Sox' odds went from 40/1 to 28/1.
Here's the complete listing for each team: Baseball Futures & Odds - MLB World Series Bets at Bovada Sportsbook
- I asked how much of an impact the Lester signing had on improving the Cubs chances of winning the World Series, and I suppose the same applies to Joe Madden taking over as manager: Inside the Chicago Cubs' Hiring of Joe Maddon, One of MLB's Best Managers - Bleacher Report, "Maddon had interviewed with Epstein and Hoyer once before, back before the 2004 season, when Epstein was running the Boston Red Sox. Then, it was at the GM meetings at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Then, Maddon bought a suit from Men's Wearhouse for the occasion. They spent part of the interview sharing a dinner at Roy's, a popular Hawaiian-Asian fusion restaurant. Terry Francona got the job. Maddon returned to Mike Scioscia's coaching staff in Anaheim." Hey wait, since when did the Bleacher Report become respectable?
- Josh Hamilton is like that cousin who shows up at the family Christmas...you can't remember why no one likes him as he seems like a good guy...and then he asks your non-pregnant wife when she's due (after hitting on her): Angels looking for rebound season from Hamilton - angels.com, ""We have seen good versions of Josh," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We just need to figure out how to make that a longer window."
- My Christmas wish just died: Yankees Sign Chase Headley – MLB Trade Rumors, "The Yankees have locked up one of their top free agent targets, as they announced on Monday the signing of third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year deal. Headley will reportedly receive $52MM over the life of the contract, and MLBTR has learned that he can earn up to $1MM each season for reaching 550 plate appearances, meaning his contract can max out at $56MM over four years."