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MLB 2017 Odds: A Series of Worldly Props

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in MLB Baseball

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Full disclosure: I wrote this intro before Game 6. That being said, congratulations, Cleveland Indians, on your first World Series title since 1948! The little city that couldn’t sure is having a year to remember thanks to the Tribe and the Cavaliers. Sure, I’m a little worried the sports gods won’t be able to resist the ironic similarities between the Cavs rallying back from a 3-1 lead to win their first title and the Indians blowing an identical series lead, but given how busy I am, I’ll roll those dice.

After all, Cleveland was 53-28 at home during the season and their bullpen has been unstoppable. It’s not like, with the series on the line, Andrew Miller will suddenly become mortal and get tagged by, oh, who’s someone random? David Ross. Ya, I feel good about this pre-write!

[Editor’s note: All those things happened and the Chicago Cubs just ended the longest championship drought in American professional sports history. But before you go reinforcing your underground bunkers for the seemingly imminent apocalypse, maybe you’d enjoy reading our odds for next year’s MLB season? If the earth is still around to have one.]

Now that we’ve answered MLB’s ultimate question for 2016, we can all finally take a deep breath and let baseball ebb from our collective consciousness until spring training rolls around.


The offseason brings a ballpark’s worth of new questions to answer: Where will the top free agents land? Who’s going to make it to Cooperstown this year? Can the Indians repeat? (Man, I really hope they ended up winning.)

Today, the SBD crew assembled, a la the Power Rangers, to become more than a sum of our nearly valueless parts. The Megazord-esque abomination that followed came up with some hopefully less abominable odds on the biggest questions looming over baseball. Check them all out because the 2017 season is rapidly starting to kind of appear as a speck on the horizon. No, wait, that’s just a really fat bird.

(Special thanks to Eric Thompson (“ET“) for the assist!)

2017 MLB Odds

Odds to win the 2017 World Series

Cubs: 6/1
Red Sox:
Dodgers: 12/1
Blue Jays: 18/1
Pirates: 35/1
White Sox:

Finally winning a championship after 108 years is a relief, but now that the “Cubs curse” is gone, this franchise is due for a few more trophies. With winning experience now coupled with another loaded rotation, decent relief pitching, and a line-up replete with mashers, they’re deserving chalk.

The Nats’ rotation is just as good as the Cubs, but injuries always seem to derail their train. Why would next year be any different? Meanwhile, the big money Dodgers will pull out all the stops to field another contender that falls short of the World Series.

The Bo-Sox, Indians, and Astros lead the AL contingent. Only the Indians really have the pitching to get it done in October, at this point in time, but count on the Red Sox to make splashy moves in free agency in an effort to put their pitching staff on par with their hard-hitting order.

Odds to finish the 2017 season with the worst record

Reds: 5/1

The Twins took home the honor last year with a sparkling 59-103 turd of a record. But they were 83-79 the year before and have a roster filled with young talent. They have a decent shot to escape the basement next season, especially since the Braves are still a thing and Oakland hates spending money.

Odds on where the following free agents sign for the 2017 season

Keith Allison, via Flickr.
Keith Allison, via Flickr.

Jose Bautista

  • Blue Jays: 5/4
  • Nationals: 7/1
  • Red Sox: 7/1
  • Astros: 9/1

Carlos Beltran

  • Rangers: 5/1
  • Blue Jays: 15/2
  • Red Sox: 15/2
  • Indians: 9/1

Yoenis Cespedes (assuming he opts out of his contract)

  • Mets: 6/1
  • Yankees: 6/1
  • Dodgers: 8/1
  • Giants: 17/2

Ian Desmond

  • Rangers: 2/1
  • Nationals: 6/1
  • Phillies: 9/1

Edwin Encarnacion

  • Blue Jays: 4/5
  • Astros: 5/1
  • Red Sox: 7/1

Dexter Fowler

  • Cubs: 5/1
  • Angels: 6/1
  • Mets: 9/1
  • Blue Jays: 10/1
Keith Allison, via Flickr.
Keith Allison, via Flickr.

Kenley Jansen

  • Dodgers: 3/2
  • Giants: 4/1
  • Cubs: 8/1
  • Yankees: 10/1

Aroldis Chapman

  • Cubs: 3/1
  • Yankees: 3/1
  • Giants: 7/1
  • Dodgers: 9/1

Rich Hill

  • Dodgers: 3/1
  • Red Sox: 3/1
  • Cardinals: 7/1

Mark Melancon

  • Nationals: 5/2
  • Giants: 4/1
  • Pirates: 8/1
  • Blue Jays: 9/1

Wilson Ramos

  • Nationals: 5/1
  • Tigers: 10/1
  • White Sox: 10/1
  • Mets: 21/2
  • Orioles: 12/1
Keith Allison, via Flickr.
Keith Allison, via Flickr.

Mark Trumbo

  • Orioles: 5/1
  • Red Sox: 6/1
  • Mets: 13/2

Justin Turner

  • Dodgers: 4/5
  • Yankees: 5/1

Matt Wieters

  • Rays: 7/1
  • Braves: 15/2
  • Orioles: 9/1

Odds on which closer receives the largest contract:

Aroldis Chapman: 1/1
Kenley Jansen:
Mark Melancon:

Why Chapman? He has the best stuff and is the youngest. Ka-ching!

Over/Under on the amount the NY Yankees spend on new free agent acquisitions this off-season (yearly value): $15 million

The Yankees weren’t active in last year’s free-agent market, and there’s reason to believe they’ll employ a similar strategy this winter. As Ken Rosenthal reported, New York may try to get under the luxury tax threshold in one of the next two years, so as to have more flexibility for the loaded 2018 free-agent class. Playing around in this year’s market doesn’t fit into the suddenly young Yankees’ plans. – ET

Over/Under on the number of starts by the Mets’ injury-riddled rotation

Noah Syndergaard: 29.5
Jacob deGrom: 25.5
Matt Harvey: 20.5
Steven Matz: 19.5
Zack Wheeler: 14.5

You’d be hard pressed to find a pitching staff with worse luck than the Mets in 2016. But the good news for New York is that, for all the surgeries required this year (Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Stephen Matz), their entire starting rotation should be available for spring training. – ET

Odds David Ortiz takes an at-bat in the MLB in 2017: 50/1

Big Papi’s retirement is for real, whether you want to believe it or not. Just because you would keep playing if you had his skills doesn’t mean Ortiz will. It’s one of life’s cruel jests.

Odds the following players open 2017 on the same team as they finished 2016

Mike Trout: 1/20
Evan Longoria: 1/5
Andrew McCutchen: 2/7
Jacoby Ellsbury: 1/3
Zack Greinke: 4/7
Yasiel Puig: 1/1
Joey Votto: 11/10
Carlos Gonzalez: 5/4
Jose Quintana: 5/3
Chris Sale: 2/1
Ryan Braun: 9/2

With a lacking free-agent class this winter, trade talks are sure to run rampant as teams attempt to upgrade through more creative ways. But while most of these big-name players have had their names floated in trade rumors going back to the deadline, it is difficult to make deals in the MLB.

Even when a team is in need of a rebuild (like the Pirates, Rays, and Reds), it’s hard to move on from marketable fan-favorites like McCutchen, Longoria, and Votto. Then there’s players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Zack Greinke, whose teams would probably love to unload them, but whose ridiculous contracts make that unrealistic. – ET

Odds on which team’s 2017 Opening Day payroll increases the most from 2016

Chicago Cubs: 7/4
Toronto Blue Jays: 7/2
Los Angeles Dodgers: 4/1
New York Mets: 7/1

After two straight years of playoff baseball, both the Cubs and Jays have a ton of revenue to shower on some of their guys who have earned new deals. But the Dodgers could still win this contest, as they continue to throw around absurd amounts of money. – ET

Odds on which team’s 2017 Opening Day payroll decreases the most from 2016

San Diego Padres: 2/1
Philadelphia Phillies: 10/3
Detroit Tigers: 10/3
Oakland Athletics: 8/1

Two years ago, the Padres took a big swing on trying to quickly build a contender. It backfired, and now they’ve started to shed the bloated contracts. The Tigers and Phillies are also looking to trim back their payrolls, but don’t count out Oakland. The A’s might have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball already, yet they’re always looking to save a penny where they can. – ET

Arturo Pardavila III via Wikimedia Commons

Odds of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) in 2017

Jeff Bagwell: 1/2
Tim Raines: 4/5
Trevor Hoffman: 3/2
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez: 4/1
Vladimir Guerrero: 6/1
Manny Ramirez: 19/1

Bagwell and Cooperstown are on a collision course. He was less than four-percent short last year (71.6-percent). His voting numbers have been trending up and this should be the year. For Raines, this is the last hurrah. If his 69.8-percent from last year doesn’t jump to 75-percent, it’s adios amigo.

The first-timers – Pudge, Vlady, and Manny – all have the numbers to get in … eventually. Cracking the Hall on your first ballot is harder than hitting a Clayton Kershaw curve, though.

Odds that no player is inducted into HOF in 2017: 49/1

It’s only happened twice since 1971. There are no absolute locks on the ballot this year, like Ken Griffey Jr. (2016) or Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez (2015). That said, Bagwell’s voting trends make him a big favorite to get in. If he doesn’t, it’ll be because the first-timers are siphoning votes.

Odds on which player will get the most votes in their first year of HOF eligibility

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez: 1/2
Vladimir Guerrero: 5/2
Manny Ramirez: 17/1
Jorge Posada: 100/1

Pudge has the best resume of the bunch and was a position-defining player for a generation. Offensively and defensively, he was the total package and the best catcher in the league for years. That kind of separation from your peers gets noticed by voters.

Not running to first, showing up late to training camp, slapping your teammates: those things also get noticed, but in a different way. Sorry, Manny.

Odds on which PED-linked player will receive the most HOF votes in 2017

Roger Clemens: 2/3
Barry Bonds: 11/7
Manny Ramirez: 49/1
Gary Sheffield: 1000/1
Sammy Sosa: 1000/1

Clemens has had a narrow edge on Bonds ever since they entered the HOF voting fray. No reason to expect that to change this year.

Odds Curt Schilling’s vote total drops from 52.3-percent in 2017: 6/1

Schilling, who’s been on the ballot for four years, has jumped from 30 to 40 to 52-percent over the last three. Most guys who see those kinds of leaps keep trending in the same direction this early in their HOF eligibility. Schilling’s political leanings (make that “ramblings”) will rankle some voters, but he’s still going to make gains.

Featured photo credit: Arturo Pardavila (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].

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