A trade that was hinted at all through the MLB All-Star break finally came to fruition Thursday as highly coveted Baltimore Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado was sent packing.
The Los Angeles Dodgers put together the right package to appease Orioles brass shipping five prospects (Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Rylan Bannon, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera) to Baltimore in exchange for Machado.
As can be expected, the odds for which team will win the World Series this season have shifted in the hours after news of the trade was officially announced.
Machado had an absolutely monster first half of the season on the last-place Orioles batting .315, crushing 24 home runs, scoring 48 runs and batting in 65. He’s also an elite defensive player with two Gold Gloves (2013, 2015) to his name.
He’s an absolute game changer with both bat and glove, but several variables could determine his success in Los Angeles and the Dodgers’ road to a title in turn.
For one thing, there’s the matter of his current contract which is up at the end of this season. Dodgers General Manager Farhan Zaidi wouldn’t give many hints about the team’s intentions of re-signing him when pressed by ESPN.
“Let's have him at least show up in a Dodger uniform before we start asking those questions. We hope he plays well and creates a good market for himself. We're not worried about what happens past 2018.”
”Those questions” when left unanswered can sometimes have an impact on a player’s demeanor, attitude and overall performance, but other times they mean absolutely nothing.
Machado joins LeBron James as the latest high-profile athlete to hit Hollywood this summer. The Dodgers have been searching for that missing piece to get them over the edge in the climb to win a World Series, but is Machado it? So far major sportsbooks appear to have reached a general consensus.
All the bookies listed above have Los Angeles as the favourite to repeat as National League Champion, but also have them fourth in line for the World Series throne.
The Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers are listed as the chief competition for the NL pennant with most bookmakers listing them in that order. Some teams with an outside shot include the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.
Last year’s World Series Champion is still the favorite to repeat as the Houston Astros have continued to win lots and have fun doing it. The Stros may not have the best record in the Majors at 64-35, but they do have critical experience and pitching depth.
With an absolutely loaded lineup and a rotation including Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander it’s going to be difficult to outpitch Houston in any playoff series, unless of course they trade one of those big arms away before the deadline.
Some familiar faces are reaping the benefits of getting younger as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are back at the top of the AL East with better odds to win the whole thing than the Dodgers.
The Red Sox have the best record in baseball at 68-30 and are led by a pitching staff more than capable of hanging with the best. J.D. Martinez has been a dynamite acquisition and Mookie Betts is an MVP candidate anchoring one of the best lineups Boston has had since the early 2000’s.
The Yankees are right behind them with their own crop of young guns and surprising breakouts. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez are the big bombers, but the likes of Didi Gregorious, rookie phenom Gleyber Torres and even Greg Bird of late have helped New York keep pace with the Sox in the battle for the AL East.
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