Cole Hamels has given the Cubs a different look. Getty Images
Here’s who to bet and who to fade in the NL in World Series futures in the aftermath of the non-waiver trade deadline.
Odds before deadline: 12-1
Odds after deadline: 20-1
The change in odds belies it, but the Diamondbacks went out and got major bullpen help at the deadline, bringing in Matt Andriese, Brad Ziegler, and Jake Diekman. Their relief unit, led by Brad Boxberger, is among the best in baseball (only the Yankees’ pen has a better ERA) but has been heavily-used throughout the season. Come postseason time, Arizona can lean on Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin and the resurgent Clay Buchholz as starters, assuming they get past a potential Wild Card play-in game. They’ll be chasing the Dodgers for the division crown while the Rockies will likely play spoiler. Arizona isn’t the least bit afraid of L.A., as they’re 9-4 against them this year and recently held a 10-game winning streak over them.
Verdict: Bet a little on the Diamondbacks as a value play.
Futures odds spread MLB Dodgers Cubs Diamondbacks advice
Los Angeles Dodgers
Odds before deadline: 12-1
Odds after deadline: 9-2
The Dodgers made a splash by acquiring both Brian Dozier and Manny Machado, but they could have used more pitching reserves. L.A.’s starters have the second-best ERA in baseball but veterans Rich Hill and Clayton Kershaw have missed chunks of time. Rookie Walker Buehler has also visited the DL this year, which has forced journeyman Ross Stripling to step up and carry the freight. As for the bullpen, the Dodgers are 13th in ERA and only acquired John Axford, who’s best days appear to be behind him. L.A. could still make a deep run in the playoffs; after all, they were only one game away from winning last year’s World Series, but their low odds are not inspiring. Only the Astros (4-1), with a much more solid roster top to bottom, are lower.
Verdict: Pass on the Dodgers at this price unless they get more pitching help in August.
Odds before deadline: 9-1
Odds after deadline: 8-1
The Cubs addressed some key needs by adding Cole Hamels to a respectable but not overpowering rotation that’s being carried by Jon Lester at the moment. They also brought in veteran swingman Jesse Chavez earlier in July and Brandon Kintzler at the deadline. Chicago didn’t acquire any significant new bats, but their depth is without question even with Kris Bryant on the DL. Veteran Ben Zobrist and rookie David Bote have more than held their own this year. Most of the pieces from their 2016 championship team are in place, so the experience edge is theirs.
Verdict: Bet the Cubs; they’re deeper and more well-rounded than the Dodgers and are twice the price.