How Did the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline Affect World Series Odds?

The 2016 Major League Baseball trade deadline passed yesterday afternoon and although many star players ended up staying put, there were several big deals that could have a tremendous impact on the playoff picture. The Chicago White Sox held onto Chris Sale and Jose Quintana despite reports that they were being actively shopped around, but overall there were 18 trades made on Monday — many of which were consummated just minutes before the deadline.

There have been no shortages of hot takes and instantaneous reactions to these trades, with baseball analysts debating the ability of prospects that won’t impact the major league ball club until years down the road. Rather than attempt to quantify the unknown by grading these trades, I wanted to examine which teams had seen the most dramatic changes in the futures market.

By comparing the World Series futures at the Westgate Superbook from Monday morning and Monday evening, I was able to determine which team’s oddsmakers believed had done the best to improve their roster.

The table below displays the World Series and Pennant odds from before and after the MLB trade deadline.

World Series

Team Before After
Chicago CUBS 7/2 7/2
San Francisco GIANTS 7/1 6/1
Texas RANGERS 10/1 6/1
Cleveland INDIANS 6/1 7/1
Washington NATIONALS 6/1 7/1
Los Angeles DODGERS 10/1 10/1
Toronto BLUE JAYS 10/1 10/1
Boston RED SOX 14/1 12/1
Baltimore ORIOLES 12/1 14/1
Detroit TIGERS 20/1 20/1
Houston ASTROS 16/1 20/1
St Louis CARDINALS 20/1 20/1
New York METS 25/1 25/1
Miami MARLINS 30/1 30/1
Seattle MARINERS 80/1 80/1
Pittsburgh PIRATES 100/1 100/1
Chicago WHITE SOX 100/1 100/1
Colorado ROCKIES 200/1 200/1
Kansas City ROYALS 300/1 300/1
Los Angeles ANGELS 300/1 500/1
New York YANKEES 300/1 1000/1
Philadelphia PHILLIES 2000/1 2000/1
Arizona DIAMONDBACKS 2000/1 2000/1
San Diego PADRES 9999/1 9999/1
Oakland ATHLETICS 9999/1 9999/1
Milwaukee BREWERS 9999/1 9999/1
Minnesota TWINS 9999/1 9999/1
Atlanta BRAVES 9999/1 9999/1
Tampa Bay RAYS 9999/1 9999/1
Cincinnati REDS 9999/1 9999/1

AL Pennant

Team Before After
Texas RANGERS 9/2 5/2
Cleveland INDIANS 9/4 3/1
Toronto BLUE JAYS 9/2 9/2
Boston RED SOX 6/1 5/1
Baltimore ORIOLES 5/1 7/1
Detroit TIGERS 10/1 9/1
Houston ASTROS 7/1 9/1
Seattle MARINERS 40/1 50/1
Chicago WHITE SOX 50/1 50/1
Kansas City ROYALS 150/1 150/1
Los Angeles ANGELS 150/1 250/1
New York YANKEES 150/1 500/1
Tampa Bay RAYS 5000/1 5000/1
Minnesota TWINS 5000/1 5000/1
Oakland ATHLETICS 5000/1 5000/1

NL Pennant

Team Before After
Chicago CUBS 7/4 7/4
San Francisco GIANTS 7/2 3/1
Washington NATIONALS 3/1 7/2
Los Angeles DODGERS 5/1 5/1
St Louis CARDINALS 10/1 10/1
New York METS 12/1 12/1
Miami MARLINS 15/1 15/1
Pittsburgh PIRATES 50/1 50/1
Colorado ROCKIES 100/1 100/1
Arizona DIAMONDBACKS 1000/1 1000/1
Philadelphia PHILLIES 1000/1 1000/1
Milwaukee BREWERS 5000/1 5000/1
Atlanta BRAVES 5000/1 5000/1
San Diego PADRES 5000/1 5000/1
Cincinnati REDS 5000/1 5000/1

Texas Rangers (62-44, 1st in AL West)

The Texas Rangers were the most obvious “winner” at the trade deadline, acquiring both Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy. The team failed to address some of the concerns with their starting rotation (namely the lack of depth behind Hamels and Darvish), but the Rangers already have the best record in the American League and were able to add two premier bats to an already potent lineup.

Even with Prince Fielder out for the season with a neck injury, the Rangers may have the scariest offense in baseball.

New Rangers Lineup

Following their acquisition of Beltran and Lucroy, the Rangers odds of winning the World Series jumped from +1000 to +600, which translates to a 3.2% improvement in their implied championship probability. Their odds of winning the American League Pennant improved from +450 to +250, which make them the clear-cut favorite.

Cleveland Indians (60-43, 1st in AL Central)

Although the Indians picked up reliever Andrew Miller from the Yankees, that acquisition was already built into the price on Monday morning. The reason that their odds of winning the World Series dropped from +600 to +700 is due to a trade that didn’t happen. Cleveland had agreed to in principle to a deal for Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but he had the Indians on his non-trade list and vetoed the trade.

On Monday morning the Indians were listed as the favorite to win the AL Pennant, but their inaction coupled with the duo of trades by the Rangers caused Cleveland’s odds to drop from +225 to +300. Brandon Guyer will be a useful platoon player, but his acquisition doesn’t move the needle for Cleveland.

Houston Astros (56-49, 2nd in AL West)

Rookie Alex Bregman is the number one ranked prospect in baseball according to ESPN’s Keith Law, but Astros fans will need the youngster to deliver immediately if they hope to compete for a championship. While division rival Texas made two major trades, the Astros stood pat at the deadline. This caused Houston’s odds of winning the World Series to drop from +1600 to +2000 while their Pennant odds dipped from +700 to +900.

San Francisco Giants (61-44, 1st in NL West)

The Giants improved their starting rotation by acquiring LHP Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for 3B Matt Duffy and two prospects. This season the 27-year old Moore has gone 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA, but he should benefit greatly by the move from the AL East to the NL West.

San Francisco also bolstered their bullpen by acquiring Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite being left-handed, Smith has dominated right-handed hitters due to his wipeout slider. Over his two and a half seasons in Milwaukee, Smith has racked up 199 strikeouts in just 151 innings pitched.

With these two moves, the Giants odds of winning the World Series improved from +700 to +600 while their odds of winning the NL Pennant moved from +350 to +300.

Random Notes and Observations

  • Despite their inaction at the trade deadline, the Tigers odds of winning the World Series actually improved from +1000 to +900. This seems like an oversight by oddsmakers, but it could also be due to the Indians failure to acquire Lucroy.
  • The Red Sox were reportedly in talks to acquire LHP Chris Sale from the White Sox, but GM Dave Dombrowski was unable to swing a blockbuster trade. Instead, the team made a smaller move to bolster their bullpen by acquiring LHP Fernando Abad. Boston’s World Series and Pennant odds both improved in spite of their inaction.
  • Clearly oddsmakers were expecting the Dodgers to make a major move at the deadline. The team acquired both LHP Rich Hill and OF Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics, yet their futures remain unchanged.
  • Over the weekend the Washington Nationals acquired closer Mark Melancon for a package of prospects, but this trade was already built into their price on Monday morning. There were rumors that the Nats would entertain offers for top prospect Lucas Giolito, but he was not moved at the deadline.
  • The New York Mets landed outfielder Jay Bruce (.265, 25 HR, 80 RBI this season) from the Cincinnati Reds, but their futures did not move.

In addition to tracking the latest futures, bettors can view the latest odds, trends and injuries by visiting our free MLB odds page.

Have any questions for the staff at Sports Insights? Utilize our live chat to speak with a customer service representative or e-mail us at help@sportsinsights.com.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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