Upcoming Match-ups

World Series-Champion Nationals Not Even in Top-5 2020 Favorites in sportsbooks’ MLB Futures

David Golokhov

by David Golokhov in MLB Baseball

Nov 1, 2019 · 12:49 PM PDT

Stephen Strasburg on the mound.
Stephen Strasburg is set to become one of the highest paid pitchers in all of baseball this winter. Photo by Lorie Shaull (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Stephen Strasburg can opt-out of his contract and become a free agent this winter
  • The Nationals have to figure out if they want to pay for Anthony Rendon, who might cost in the neighborhood of $25-$30 million a season
  • See the opening odds for the 2020 World Series next season below

Now that the Washington Nationals have been crowned champions, we can take an early look at the 2020 World Series odds, which have been posted. To the surprise of some, the Nats aren’t even in the Top 5 in terms of the odds of winning it. Is that the right spot for them or are they being overlooked again?

2020 World Series Odds

Team Odds
Houston Astros +600
New York Yankees +600
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
Atlanta Braves +1200
Boston Red Sox +1200
Cleveland Indians +1500
Washington Nationals +1500
Philadelphia Phillies +2000
St. Louis Cardinals +2200
Chicago Cubs +2500
Minnesota Twins +2500
New York Mets +2500
Milwaukee Brewers +3000
Oakland Athletics +3000
Tampa Bay Rays +3000

Odds taken Nov. 1. 

Nationals Have Plenty of Key Free Agents

One of the main reasons the Nationals aren’t among the Top 5 favorites is because their 2020 roster could look very different than 2019. This is a team that put it all together last season, catching fire after a lousy 19-31 start. If they don’t keep their core free agents, though, next year’s roster will have a tough time overcoming a start like that.

To start, the Nats have to figure out what to do with Stephen Strasburg. He can opt-out of his contract and likely will. The 31-year-old was just named the World Series MVP and posted a stellar 0.94 WHIP and 1.98 ERA in the playoffs. At the same time, he’ll be 32 in July and will command roughly $25-30 million per season.

After that, the Nats will have think about what they want to do with Anthony Rendon. The third-baseman is going to be among the hottest commodities on the market. He batted .319 last season with 34 home runs, 126 RBI’s and had an OPS of 1.010. Between him and Strasburg, that’s probably close to $60 million in commitments right there.

From there, the decisions become a bit easier as guys like Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Yan Gomes and Asdrubal Cabrera are replaceable. The Nats don’t want to replace all of them as that would mean huge turnover for the lineup but it won’t hurt if one or two leave, and they shouldn’t cost a lot to keep.

One other area of concern is the bullpen Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson really locked down the back end. Doolittle cost $6.5 million last season while Hudson was just $1.5 million. The team has an option for Doolittle, so he should be back, but Hudson will cost more than $1.5 million next season.

Will They Open the Checkbook?

The challenge here for the Nats is that they don’t want to go from penthouse to outhouse, but the smart move is probably to let a lot of these guys walk. Someone will give Rendon crazy-money and it wouldn’t be surprising if Strasburg saw a Brinks truck too. If the Nats were to only lose those two, they’re probably not even a playoff team next season.

Considering they spent $140 million on Patrick Corbin last offseason, I would think they let Strasburg go. They’ll put up a fight for Rendon but I wouldn’t be surprised if the bidding gets too rich for them too. Both are 30+, so it might be wise to let them go.

At the same time, that will severely impact the team on the field. I think they caught lightning in a bottle this year as the stars aligned for them. With key players on the move, I’m not expecting them to be in contention for a World Series ring next season.

Author Image