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.
|San Francisco GIANTS||7/1||6/1|
|Los Angeles DODGERS||10/1||10/1|
|Toronto BLUE JAYS||10/1||10/1|
|Boston RED SOX||14/1||12/1|
|St Louis CARDINALS||20/1||20/1|
|New York METS||25/1||25/1|
|Chicago WHITE SOX||100/1||100/1|
|Kansas City ROYALS||300/1||300/1|
|Los Angeles ANGELS||300/1||500/1|
|New York YANKEES||300/1||1000/1|
|San Diego PADRES||9999/1||9999/1|
|Tampa Bay RAYS||9999/1||9999/1|
|Toronto BLUE JAYS||9/2||9/2|
|Boston RED SOX||6/1||5/1|
|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|
|San Francisco GIANTS||7/2||3/1|
|Los Angeles DODGERS||5/1||5/1|
|St Louis CARDINALS||10/1||10/1|
|New York METS||12/1||12/1|
|San Diego PADRES||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.
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.
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