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Red Sox Favored to Repeat as World Series Champions in 2019

Red Sox players celebrate.
Expect many more high fives at Fenway Park in 2019. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • The Red Sox have emerged with the shortest odds to win the 2019 World Series 
  • Can Boston become the first team since the 1999 Yankees to win back-to-back titles? 
  • Will the Red Sox bring back closer Craig Kimbrel?

The Red Sox famously went 86 years between World Series championships, but they may only have to wait 12 more months before winning their next title.

Boston is favored to win the 2019 World Series with average opening odds of +640 across a number of top online sportsbooks. That’s in stark contrast to a year ago when they opened with average odds of +1100.

Average Opening Odds to Win the 2019 World Series

The Red Sox are narrowly ahead of the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees, three teams they defeated en route to winning their ninth World Series title in franchise history.

2019 World Series Odds

Team Odds to Win the World Series on 10/29/18
Boston Red Sox +650
Houston Astros +700
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
New York Yankees +800
Chicago Cubs +1000

It’s easy to understand why oddsmakers are bullish on Boston. The Red Sox won a franchise record 108 games in 2018 and soundly defeated a pair of 100+ win juggernauts in the playoffs. Alex Cora’s club finished first among all teams in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, and RBI in October, and easily outscored the Dodgers 28-16 in the World Series.

Count on Continuity in Boston

The Sox should look remarkably similar in 2019. Barring a trade or injury, all nine members of Boston’s starting lineup will be back. The rotation should also remain largely the same, as management is expected to pick up Chris Sale’s $15 million club option.

The seven-time All-Star appeared to be on the brink of winning his first Cy Young award this past summer before he was derailed with shoulder issues. Sale showed flashes of his former self in his dominant one inning, three-strikeout performance in Game 5 of the World Series, and should benefit from a winter of rest and recovery.

The Red Sox should look remarkably similar in 2019. Barring a trade or injury, all nine members of Boston’s starting lineup will be back.

While Sale rests, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski will be hard at work filling out the fringes of Boston’s roster. The club currently has eight free agents, including a pair of key cogs in World Series MVP Steve Pearce and closer Craig Kimbrel.

Boston Red Sox Free Agents

Player Position
Nathan Eovaldi SP
Joe Kelly RP
Craig Kimbrel RP
Ian Kinsler 2B
Eduardo Nunez IF
Steve Pearce 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Drew Pomeranz SP

It won’t be surprising if Pearce cashes in on his newfound fame elsewhere given the nomadic nature of his career, but keeping Kimbrel should be a priority.

The 30-year-old reliever is the Majors’ active leader in saves and is coming off his third consecutive All-Star appearance. Kimbrel was shaky at times in the postseason, giving up seven earned runs in just 10.2 innings, but the Sox will be hard pressed to find a proven player who fits in so well with their clubhouse culture.

Brandon Phillips, Ian Kinsler, and Eduardo Nunez all had their moments for the Red Sox, but will likely be viewed as luxuries rather than necessities with the expected return of former MVP Dustin Pedroia. The two-time World Series champ appeared in just three games in 2018 after undergoing  arthroscopic surgery on his knee, but is reportedly close to 100% and should make a full recovery by Spring Training. His return will make the league’s most lethal offense even more dangerous.

LA Could Be in for a Letdown

The Red Sox’s  personnel decisions pale in comparison to those of the Dodgers, who could lose Manny Machado, Yasmani Grandal, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brian Dozier, Ryan Madson, and Clayton Kershaw.

The club barely qualified for the postseason in 2018 and could be due for a regression after being outscored by the Brewers in the NLCS and being thoroughly outplayed by the Red Sox in the World Series.  Keep a close eye on their offseason moves before laying down any coin on LA.

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