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Nationals 2019 World Series Odds Improve Amidst Harper Rumors

Bryce Harper Nationals OF
Bryce Harper has yet to make a decision on his 2019 team. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Washington Nationals are back among the favorites to win the 2019 World Series
  • Can the Nats overtake the Dodgers and Cubs in the National League?
  • Does Washington has a legitimate chance of re-signing Bryce Harper? 

There hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of Washington these days, but baseball fans in DC can take solace in the fact that their team’s odds to win the 2019 World Series have been improving significantly. The Nationals have gone from +2100 on December 6th to +1500 on January 28th across a number of top online sportsbooks.

That steady surge has Dave Martinez’s club just ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the NL East, and within striking distance of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant.

2019 World Series Odds

Team Odds to Win 2019 World Series at BetOnline (01/16/19)
New York Yankees +700
Boston Red Sox +750
Houston Astros +800
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
Chicago Cubs +1200
Philadelphia Phillies +1200
St. Louis Cardinals +1200
Milwaukee Brewers +1400
Atlanta Braves +1600
Cleveland Indians +1600
New York Mets +1600

*Follow link for complete list

What’s Behind the Nationals’ Improved Odds?

Unlike many of their penny-pinching peers, the Nationals have actually been spending money this winter. The club dove into free agency on November 20th by signing free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki to a two-year, $10 million contract. The veteran backstop hit .271 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI last season in Atlanta, and is a huge upgrade over Matt Wieters, who failed to hit his weight in two seasons in DC.

Suzuki will be counted on to help ease the transition of fellow Atlanta cast off Anibal Sanchez, who signed a two-year, $19 million deal on December 28th. The 13-year vet went 7-6 with a minuscule 2.38 ERA last season, and is just six years removed from being a top five AL Cy Young finalist. Sanchez is expected to replace Tanner Roark, who was traded to the Reds after bottoming out with a career-high 15 losses in 2018.

Washington found another live arm in free agent Patrick Corbin, whom they signed to a lucrative six-year, $140 million deal on December 7th. One of this winter’s most sought-after free agents, Corbin is coming off a career year in which he went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA and recorded 246 strikeouts in 200 innings pitched. He’ll combine with three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and three-time All-Star Stephen Strasburg to give the Nats one of the most fearsome rotations in the Majors.

More recently, the Nationals addressed an area of need by signing Brian Dozier to a one-year, $9 million deal on January 13th. The 31-year-old struggled during his brief stint last season with the Dodgers, but he’s a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner who should supply far more consistent production than incumbent second baseman Wilmer Difo.

Washington Hasn’t Given Up on Harper

Washington’s busy offseason has certainly caught the attention of oddmakers, but has it caught the attention of Bryce Harper? The Nationals offered the former NL MVP the richest contract in the history of US team sports back in September, only to see him say thanks, but no thanks. At the time, Harper assumed he could snag even more money from another deep-pocketed suitor, but so far no other team has made a comparable offer.

Harper and his representatives have met multiple times with the Nationals since, and a reunion isn’t out of the question. The hard-hitting 26-year-old has said all along that he wants to win, and Washington general manager Mike Rizzo has done everything in his power to assemble a club that can do just that.

Should You Bank Big on the Nats?

The Nationals represent tremendous value at +1500 if – and only if – Harper resigns with the team. The six-time All-Star is among the best power hitters in baseball and his return would put Washington on an entirely different trajectory in 2019.

However, we’re inclined to believe Harper will sign with the Phillies, which is why we’re keeping our money on the defending world champion Red Sox. Boston won a franchise-best 108 games in 2018 and could be even more potent this year with the long-awaited return of former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.

The Red Sox have the depth, experience, and chemistry you look for in a champion, and remain the prohibitive favorites to become the first team since the Yankees to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy in back-to-back seasons. Hop on Boston’s +650 odds while you can, because they’re only going to get shorter once the season gets underway.

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