Mike Trout is finding out it’s nice to be the biggest fish in the pond. The Los Angeles Angels outfielder is now the highest paid player in Major League Baseball and will earn $34 million next season.
His team also improved their chances to win the World Series. They opened as a 50-1 selection to win the Fall Classic, but dropped recently from 30-1 to to 25-1.
The New York Yankees are the favorite at 5-1, followed by the defending champion Houston Astros at 6-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished runner up in the World Series last year, dropped from 5-1 to 6-1.
New Addition Helps Angels
Trout had been the subject of trade rumors because his team had been struggling the past couple of years. In 2017 they finished two games below .500 and were a distant second to Houston in the American League West. The year before that they 14 games below .500 and finished fourth out of five teams in the division.
Signing two-way star Shohei Ohtani should boost their chances to make the playoffs and make them more competitive. The Japanese star pitcher and slugger chose the Halos after several organizations were clamoring for the 23-year-old MVP.
When he doesn’t pitch Ohtani will probably be the designated hitter. He will join a potentially powerful lineup that features Trout, who had 37 home runs, and Justin Upton, 32 dingers, and Albert Pujols, who finished with 26 homers.
If the new addition works out as planned and Trout and company produce similar numbers like they did last season, the odds may fall even farther. If Trout was on the trade market he is definitely off now.
The Angels have the dubious honor of sharing the AL West with the defending world champions and Houston has done nothing to diminish their chances to repeat. The team keeps all of its key players and could be the first team since the 1998-99 Yankees to win consecutive titles.
But it is that same team that could give the Astros its biggest competition in 2018. The Bronx Bombers grabbed National League home run champion and MVP Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason from Miami.
He joins American League home run champ Aaron Judge. It will be the fourth time in MLB history that the two leagues home run leaders played for the same team the following season. It will also be the second time that two teammates who hit 50 or more dingers in the previous season are teammates. The other was another pair of Yankees, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1962.
New York has dropped its odds significantly to win the World Series. They opened at 8-1, behind the Astros, Indians and Dodgers. Now with the most potent offensive lineup in the game the team has jumped up as the favorite at 5-1.
A team that hasn’t made a lot of noise in the offseason but could be right there at the end of the year is Cleveland. They opened at 6-1 and slipped to 7-1 but are an organization that could also challenge for the title. Their starting rotation will be healthy and could have the best pitchers in the league.