MLB: Two Weeks to Spring Training: Dodgers Still Odds-on World Series Favourite

Date IconLast Updated: 2024 Feb 6
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MLB: Two Weeks to Spring Training: Dodgers Still Odds-on World Series Favourite

There is online debate on the sports betting front in Toronto this week about the Blue Jays’ off-season, if the team did enough to improve on a season where they won 89 games but went out feebly to the Minnesota Twins 2-0 in the wildcard series. 

With pitchers and catchers set to report to Dunedin Feb. 15, and their first spring training game scheduled for Feb. 24 against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Jays’ off-season shopping appears to be finished. 


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The team last week signed Justin Turner to a one-year, $13 million contract, and Turner will help fill a hole at third base, with Matt Chapman currently a free agent, and no indications he is coming back to Toronto.

Turner has played there before, and so has Isiah Kiner Falefa, another free agent signing this off-season. Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal can play the position as well. 

WHICH KIND OF IMPACT WILL THE TURNER SIGNING HAVE?

Last year’s stat line on Turner, in his one season with the Boston Red Sox: 146 games played, 558 ABs, 154 hits, .276 batting average, 23 HRs, 96 RBIs, .345 OBP, .800 OPS. 

By already signing Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year contract, the Jays solidified the outfield defense. They signed Cuban free agent pitcher Yariel Rodriguez a few weeks back, who can step in as a set-up man for closer Jordan Romano or can slide into the starting rotation.


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Outside of that, it looks like they will count more on players like Davis Schneider, Spencer Horwitz and Ernie Clement, players who started last season in Triple A but were each called up to the big-league team when injuries happened.

The Jays are also looking to players they already have on the big-league roster – namely Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and George Springer – to have bigger seasons. Guerrero Jr.’s line in 2023 was .264 batting average, 26 HRs, 94 RBIs and a .788 OPS. He was way off his MVP-caliber 2021 season (48 HRs). The Jays will need to see much more from him (today’s salary arbitration hearing on Guerrero Jr. is going to be interesting, and he did tell a reporter the other day he feels strong physically). Can Guerrero Jr. rescue the team’s fading offence?

UPDATED WORLD SERIES ODDS

BetMGM MLB odds this morning has the L.A. Dodgers as the favourite to win the World Series – 4.60 – followed by the Atlanta Braves (7.00), Houston Astros (9.50), New York Yankees (10.00), Texas Rangers (12.00), Baltimore Orioles (14.00), Philadelphia Phillies (15.00), then the Seattle Mariners and Blue Jays at 21.00 with BetMGM.

Over at FanDuel it’s similar: Dodgers at 4.50, Braves 6.50, Astros 9.00, Yankees 10.00, Rangers 13.00, Orioles 13.00, Phillies 15.00, Twins, Jays and Mariners at 21.00.

Latest MLB news this week included the Dodgers touching up the back end of their bullpen, signing Ryan Brasier (2-0, .70 ERA and 38 SOs in 38.2 IP after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox last season) to a two-year contract. 

DODGERS DOMINATED MLB OFF-SEASON

The Dodgers of course won free agent season by signing mega-star Shohei Ohtani to a $700 million contract. ESPN is reporting this morning that Ohtani, rehabbing from elbow surgery that will keep him out of the starting pitching rotation in 2024, says he is “very confident” he will be ready to be the Dodgers’ designated hitter when the season gets going.

The Dodgers also signed pitchers Yoshinobu Yamamoto, James Paxton as free agents, and Tyler Glasnow (acquired in a trade), and OF and former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernandez as a free agent – more than $1.2 billion in off-season spending. 


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The Blue Jays? They will need Turner to match that 2023 output, see improvements from Springer and Guerrero, a comeback from Alek Manoah, who was in the conversation for Cy Young in 2022 but fell off the rails last season, sent to the minors twice. 

That and hope that an aging starting rotation which was among the best in the MLB last season can stay healthy. Was there a better starting three than Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios and Matt Bassitt, except perhaps the Milwaukee Brewers Corbin Burnes (now with Baltimore), Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta, or the Braves’ Max Fried, Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder (and they had Charlie Morton too, who got hurt)?