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Mookie Betts Signs Record Deal; Are the Boston Red Sox Good Value to Win 2020 World Series?

Boston Red Sox
  • The Boston Red Sox re-signed Mookie Betts on Friday
  • Boston is tied for the seventh-best World Series odds 
  • Do the Red Sox present good World Series value?

The Boston Red Sox took care of some key off-season business by avoiding arbitration with Mookie Betts.

Boston signed the star outfielder to a record-setting one-year, $27-million deal. The Red Sox were also able to avoid arbitration with Jackie Bradley Jr and Brandon Workman.

Both Betts and Bradley Jr played key roles on the 2018 World Series run. So after missing the playoffs in 2019, could the Killer B’s key another championship?

2020 World Series Odds

Team 2019 Record Odds
New York Yankees 103-59 +325
Houston Astros 107-55 +600
Boston Red Sox 84-78 +1800
Cleveland Indians 93-69 +1800
Tampa Bay Rays 96-66 +2200
Minnesota Twins 101-61 +2500
Los Angeles Angels 72-90 +2800
Oakland Athletics 97-65 +3000
Chicago White Sox 72-89 +4000
Texas Rangers 78-84 +8000
Toronto Blue Jays 67-95 +8000
Seattle Mariners 68-94 +30000
Baltimore Orioles 54-108 +100000
Detroit Tigers 47-114 +100000
Kansas City Royals 59-103 +100000

Odds taken Jan. 10th

The Red Sox hit the stretch run of the off-season tied for the third-best World Series odds among American League teams. They trail the Yankees and Astros, but join the Indians at +1800 on average.

Boston has consistently sat in third this off-season, while the Indians have crept in and out of contention. Both teams could see their odds rise considerably however, as the Astros are preparing to face  significant discipline from MLB.

Boston Red Sox Offense Should be a Problem

The re-signing of Betts simply confirms what we already knew: scoring runs won’t be an issue in 2020.

With a lineup loaded with big bats, the Red Sox were one of the best clubs offensively in 2019. And with a young core, it could conceivably get better.

2019 Boston Red Sox Offense

2019 30-Team Average
Boston Red Sox

.252 Batting Average .269
782 Runs 901
226 Home Runs 245
749 RBI 857
.323 On-Base Percentage .340
.435 Slugging Percentage .466

Boston finished fourth in runs scored, fifth in RBI and slugging percentage, and third in batting average and OBP.

There aren’t many questions in the lineup. The two biggest holes are on the right side of the infield at first and second base. Dustin Pedroia has played nine games in two years, so Boston is hoping Michael Chavis improves. He could also move to first if Sam Travis can’t offer anything above his -1.3 career WAR or Bobby Dalbec can’t make the leap.

Boston Red Sox Need Improved Pitching

While there have been rumors flying about what the Red Sox will do with their pitchers, something needs to happen.

Whether it was starters, relievers or closers, the 2018 champs just weren’t good enough on the bump.

2019 Boston Red Sox Pitching

2019 30-Team Average
Boston Red Sox

4.49 ERA .470
1.19 WHIP 1.38
1274 Strikeouts 1633
469 Walks 605
51 Quality Starts 55
.250 Opponent’s Batting Average .251
21 Blown Saves 31

One of the biggest things Boston can hope for is good health.

Chris Sale has started 27 and 25 games in each of the last two seasons. Before that, he had at least 30 starts in four of five years.

Eduardo Rodriguez notched career-highs in starts and strikeouts, and while his ERA stayed steady, his opponent’s average and WHIP rose. Nathan Eovaldi bounced between the rotation and bullpen last year, and his career numbers in the AL East aren’t great.

As for David Price? Whether or not he makes it to Spring Training with the Sox is up for debate.

They added Martin Perez, but the rotation isn’t threatening. And that’s assuming good health for Sale.

The best thing to come out of last year was Brandon Workman. Although he was 16/22 in save opportunities, he was seven-for-seven in September, allowing just two unearned runs in 11.1 innings. They need that again.

Boston Red Sox Have Value, But Aren’t a Must-Have

If you’re a fan of Boston’s offense and think it can carry them to a playoff spot, then this is the price to get them at. The impending punishment for the Astros could cause a swing at the books.

But while the Yankees improved, the Red Sox stood still. And with an average rotation and no clear plan on the right side of the infield, adding a Wild Card game to the mix isn’t a risk worth taking in January.

They’re simply a name-brand buy.

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