Tagged in: Dodgers

Yankees and Dodgers co-favorites to win World Series

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are the consensus favorites to win the World Series in a season that guarantees to be like no other in Major League Baseball’s history.

The Yankees and Dodgers are co-favorites at 7-2 to win the World Series at Caesars Sportsbook. The Houston Astros are next at 11-1, followed by the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, who are each 15-1 at Caesars.

On Tuesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred revealed a plan for a 60-game regular season that is expected to start July 23 or July 24 and last until late September. Teams will play their four divisional opponents 10 times and five interleague opponents in the same geographical area four games apiece.

The playoff format stays the same as recent seasons, with 10 teams — three division winners and two wild-card teams from each league — reaching the postseason.

The condensed season and insecurity caused by the coronavirus pandemic have oddsmakers wary of long shots that could surprise.

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“It would seem plausible to me that there will be money for some of the midrange to longer-shot teams that might field young lineups — think Toronto — or hot shot, young pitching that the league hasn’t seen much of yet,” Rex Beyers, senior oddsmaker for Caesars Sportsbook, told ESPN.

In addition to the Blue Jays, Beyers pointed to the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies as examples of teams with longer odds that he presumes to attract betting interest. The Blue Jays are 75-1, the Rockies are 100-1 and the Tigers are 250-1 at Caesars Sportsbook.

Some bettors already have taken early stabs on a few long shots to win the World Series. Bookmaker William Hill U.S. reported having taken a $1,000 bet on the San Francisco Giants at 125-1 and a $100 bet on the Baltimore Orioles at 1,000-1.

For now, though, the Yankees and Dodgers are the clear-cut favorites. Both teams added superstars during the offseason, with starting pitcher Gerrit Cole going to the Yankees and right fielder Mookie Betts joining the Dodgers.

The defending-champion Washington Nationals are 18-1, along with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and Cincinnati Reds are each 20-1.

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David Price makes spring debut for Dodgers

David Price, in his first match action since left wrist surgery in September, said he considered his Dodgers debut on Monday a success.

The linescore wasn’t as generous. Price was charged with two earned runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings in a 6-2 defeat to the Reds.

“It’s been a while since I faced hitters wearing a different jersey,” said Price. “Where I’m at in Spring Training, two live and first outing, it’s very positive for myself. First time I’ve been in a game for six, almost seven months. My legs were shaking out there. If you love what you do, you’re going to have nerves and I definitely had them out there today. It was fun. I enjoyed getting back out there. Wasn’t missing by much. For the first time, I’m OK with it.”

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Manager Dave Roberts appeared OK with it as well.

“He was just missing,” said Roberts. “I thought the ball was coming out good. Just to get him out there for a first outing, Dave’s going to be just fine.”

The Dodgers had to take Price — and half of the remaining $96 million on his contract — to pry Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. Price stated it doesn’t sting being known as the salary dump in the Betts trade.

“It’s OK,” he said. “This is a business. I learned that when I was traded from Tampa. I was naïve at the time, thought I’d be a Ray for life and Andrew [Friedman] broke my heart. Teams are going in different routes than they used to and some of it I understand, some of it I don’t. If I was in the owner’s seat, I try to wrap my head around it that way. No hard feelings on my part. My job is to play baseball.”

Price is coming off left wrist surgery for a circulation condition he said dates back to his days in Tampa, which ended in 2014 when current Dodgers president of baseball operations Friedman, then Tampa’s general manager, traded him to Detroit. Price said the surgery worked.

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Red Sox talk Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers

The Red Sox and Dodgers are “deep into talks” about a deal involving 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Olney reports that the two sides have talked about possible trade options for Betts with and without also including former Cy Young Award winner David Price.

The 27-year-old Betts will be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and the Red Sox have yet to sign their star outfielder to a long-term deal. 

On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported the difficulty some teams are having in evaluating the long term value of Betts, “whose historical uniqueness is astonishing.”

“At least one team recently undertook just such an internal study of Betts,” Verducci reported. “Nothing relevant came back. Betts is a terrific baserunner, a defensive wizard and a rock of dependability… At this age, Betts is the greatest small power hitter since Mel Ott, who was born in 1909.”

Betts’ projected performance at his $27 million salary for 2020 is one of the primary reasons why teams would be willing to part ways with prospects in exchange for just one year of Betts, according to Verducci.

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“Mookie Betts is one of the five best players in the game,” an assistant GM told Verducci . “When you have an opportunity to add a star player for one year, any team could use that kind of player… This is the kind of player you rarely get to acquire. He’s why you consider trading prospects.”

The Dodgers feature an attractive range of young players, including outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Gavin Lux and pitcher Dustin May.

Los Angeles, however, isn’t the only NL West team that seems interested in acquiring Betts.

Earlier this week, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres are “willing to send two young major leaguers and at least one prospect” to Boston with outfielder Wil Myers in exchange for Betts.

In order for the Friars to take on Betts’ $27 million salary for a one-year rental, the club wants the Red Sox to “come up significantly in the portion of Myers’ contract they are willing to pay.”

Multiple people within the Padres organization told the Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee that getting Betts is “only marginally possible” due to the Dodgers’ interest in the outfielder and the struggles over Myers’s contract with the Red Sox.

While Betts could walk away after one season, he would drastically improve the Padres’ options of making their first postseason since 2006. The Dodgers, however, seem as if they in a better position to take on Betts’s salary and have a deep farm system of high-level prospects to possibly trade.

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Freese, 2011 Series MVP, retires after 11 seasons

David Freese, the 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player with the St. Louis Cardinals, revealed his retirement on Saturday after 11 seasons.

“Padres, Cardinals, Angels, Pirates, and Dodgers. You took a 23-year old kid out of college and pushed him to 36,” wrote Freese in a social media post, thanking all the clubs he was a part of during his career.

“Can’t thank you enough for that. Needed it. Will never stop thinking about the days I got to be around such wonderful people playing this game. As I move forward with the next phase of my life, I am forever grateful to all of you and the game of baseball.”

Freese, 36, spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing mostly first base, and also spent time with the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates.

He was a career .277 hitter and even better in the postseason, with a .299 average. Freese made his final entrance Wednesday in a deciding Game 5 of an NL Division Series, striking out as a pinch hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They lost 7-3 to the Washington Nationals. Freese had started Game 1 at first base.

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He made his major league debut with St. Louis in 2009 and turn out to be a postseason star two years later.

Freese batted .545 with 12 hits in the NL Championship Series in 2011. He also set an MLB postseason record with 21 RBIs and earned MVP honors in the NLCS and World Series.

Freese was an All-Star in 2012, when he played in a career-high 144 games after injuries had dogged him in previous years. In Game 1 of the NLCS versus San Francisco, he hit a two-run homer off Madison Bumgarner.

In his first 25 postseason games, Freese batted .386 with six homers, 25 RBIs and a .739 slugging percentage in 100 plate appearances. Only Carlos Beltran (.824) and Babe Ruth (.744) had higher slugging percentages in the same number of plate appearances.

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