They weren’t favorites to win the World Series next year but the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees definitely improved their odds after signing big name players. The American League teams also improved their chances to win the division.
The Bronx Bombers were already in the mix to win the AL Championship Series, but jumped to +260 when they announced they had traded for National League home run champion and MVP Giancarlo Stanton. They are now the top pick to win the ALCS, ahead of Cleveland and defending World Series Champion Houston, which are both at plus-280.
The Angels, who finished two games under .500 and missed the playoffs are now a +1500 to win the league after signing two-way star Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese star pitcher and slugger chose the West Coast squad after several organizations were clamoring for the 23-year-old MVP.
The odds for winning the World Series dropped in at least one sportsbook for the two. The Westgate LV SuperBook had the Yankees at 8-1, but after the trade placed them at 6-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers are still the favorites at 9-2. The Angels dropped from 50-1 to 30-1.
Why Stanton Will Help New York
Stanton hit 59 home runs for the Miami Marlins last season and will join the 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.
The only hiccup with the deal is that both sluggers play right field and new manager Aaron Boone will have to figure out how to fit them both in the lineup. There is a possibility one of them would move to left or be the designated hitter.
Why Ohtani Will Help Los Angeles
The team’s general manager Billy Eppler thinks he has found the first player who can dominate on the mound and at the plate since Babe Ruth, but history is against him. Other players have tried to do both and failed, eventually having to concentrate on one discipline. Even Ruth left pitching to focus on hitting.
The executive, though, is undeterred, as were several other general managers, who coveted Ohtani. He managed to do both in the Nippon League in Japan and Eppler believes he can duplicate that in the states.
“There was a wow factor to him,” Eppler said. “He was a little bit of a showstopper. Big fastball. The ability to throw three off-speed pitches for strikes. And have the presence in the batter’s box that we gravitated to. He fits a lot of our offensive philosophy.”
He won’t play in the outfield on days he doesn’t pitch, instead he will be the team’s designated hitter.