2013 World Series Odds at the Start of Spring Training Games
Spring training games will commence this weekend, giving experts, pundits and fans their first look at MLB teams in action.
For most of the winter, various publications have posted World Series odds for each MLB team. In many cases, those odds drastically changed because of offseason activity. But at that point, it's all about what they look like on paper.
Spring training games give teams the opportunity to finally see the fruits of their offseason labor. By extension, experts can see firsthand whether their projections might have merit.
Here is a final look at World Series odds for all 30 teams as they embark on their Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules.
Houston Astros: 200-1
While every team technically has a shot to win a World Series, the Houston Astros in 2013 are a complete long shot at best.
General manager Jeff Luhnow has made it clear that the Astros are building for the future. Based on the current roster, that future certainly doesn't include this season.
The Astros have a far better chance of losing 100 games for the third consecutive season.
Miami Marlins: 150-1
With all of the changes made during the offseason, it's safe to say that the Marlins' odds of a World Series berth are just slightly better than the Houston Astros'.
That's not saying much.
With one marquee player in Giancarlo Stanton and a host of youngsters with aging veterans mixed in, Mike Redmond's team will be much like the Astros—playing to avoid a 100-loss season.
Colorado Rockies: 125-1
The Colorado Rockies feature an offense that has the potential to score runs in 2013.
However, their pitching staff will be hard-pressed to prevent runs once again.
The Rockies at least abandoned the idea of a four-man rotation, moving back to a conventional five-man rotation this season. But with largely the same personnel that failed them last year, the Rockies are destined for the cellar in the NL West.
Chicago Cubs: 100-1
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is intent on sticking to his long-term plan of making his team competitive each season.
They'll certainly compete in 2013, but not to a level that would culminate in a World Series berth.
The additions of Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman and Carlos Villanueva will help a starting rotation that struggled last season. Scott Baker could prove to be a shrewd signing as well if he can fully recover from Tommy John surgery.
Still, at this point, it's all about a slow progression to their final destination, and that's likely still a few years away.
Minnesota Twins: 90-1
The Minnesota Twins were active on the trade market this offseason. Their deals with the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals netted them two potential impact starters, but they also sacrificed two-thirds of their starting outfield in return.
Alex Meyer and Trevor May both hold promise for the starting rotation. Vance Worley could have an impact as well if he can improve on a disappointing sophomore season.
However, general manager Terry Ryan also provided Band-Aid help for his rotation in the form of Rich Harden, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia. Harden has been dogged by shoulder injuries for much of his career, and Pelfrey is working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
It's difficult to project anything better than a last-place finish in the AL Central for the Twins, much less a World Series berth.
New York Mets: 85-1
A suspect starting rotation and a weak corps of outfielders likely means the New York Mets will finish no better than .500 in 2013.
In dealing away R.A. Dickey, the Mets rotation took a severe hit. Johan Santana will attempt to put together a full season with his surgically repaired shoulder. Dillon Gee will also try to rebound after a blood clot in his right shoulder cut short his 2012 season.
An outfield consisting of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter doesn't exactly inspire confidence either.
The Mets have hope for the future with youngsters Travis d'Arnaud, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. But without other big bats to support David Wright this season, a .500 finish is a reasonable goal.
San Diego Padres: 80-1
The San Diego Padres were one of the least active teams this offseason. That did nothing to improve their chances of reaching the World Series.
The Padres' biggest transaction was re-signing starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Other minor signings and low-impact trades were more the norm.
Lacking a true ace and with fences moving in at Petco Park, the Padres will be challenged to prevent runs both at home and on the road.
Seattle Mariners: 65-1
The Seattle Mariners are a better team with new additions Michael Morse, Joe Saunders and Kendrys Morales.
Raul Ibanez will return to Seattle to help a struggling offense.
However, the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's figure to be strong in the AL West once again after their offseason moves. The Mariners will be hard-pressed to keep up in the division, let alone battle for a World Series berth.
Cleveland Indians: 60-1
I am a big fan of what the Cleveland Indians accomplished this offseason. Owner Larry Dolan invested in the future of his team with several meaningful transactions.
The additions of Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn will certainly help the offense. Trevor Bauer adds promise to the Indians starting rotation as well.
However, there are way too many questions concerning that rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson will need to bounce back from disappointing 2012 seasons, and Brett Myers will be counted on to transition smoothly back into a starting role as well.
A perfect storm of events would have to occur for this rotation to help lift the Indians to a postseason berth in 2013.
Milwaukee Brewers: 55-1
The Milwaukee Brewers have a bolstered bullpen and a solid offense heading into 2013.
They took a major hit this week, however, when first baseman Mat Gamel suffered a second torn ACL in less than a year, ending his hopes for a return this season.
With Corey Hart already sidelined until at least the end of April, it leaves the Brewers scrambling for options at first base.
In addition, the starting rotation is largely unproven. While Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta all posted solid campaigns last season, the rotation beyond ace Yovani Gallardo is considered the team's weakest link.
Just getting by the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central will present a challenge.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 50-1
Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting recently expressed confidence in his team's chances in 2013.
According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Nutting will visit his team in Bradenton, Fla., on Thursday to discuss his goals.
I'll set our level of expectations, which needs to be to win a championship, to be playing exciting games throughout the summer, meaningful games in September, and compete to put ourselves in position to bring a sixth World Series championship to Pittsburgh. They need to understand that is our organizational goal, and the target we're focused on.
The Pirates are working toward that goal, having signed catcher Russell Martin to add offensive punch and provide better defense behind the plate.
However, Pittsburgh still lacks a big-time hitter that complements All-Star slugger Andrew McCutchen. In addition, it has solid starters in A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez, but definite questions beyond that.
The Pirates will have a chance to break their streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons, but will ultimately fall short of the postseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 45-1
Few teams were as active as the Arizona Diamondbacks this offseason. General manager Kevin Towers lived up to his nickname, "The Gunslinger," this winter.
No single area of the team was left untouched. Towers added Brandon McCarthy to the starting rotation, Heath Bell and Tony Sipp to the bullpen, Cody Ross to the outfield, Martin Prado, Cliff Pennington and Didi Gregorius to the infield and Eric Hinske and Eric Chavez to the bench.
However, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants still stand in Arizona's way in the NL West. Towers' complete roster makeover won't be quite enough to lift the Snakes above their rivals.
Kansas City Royals: 40-1
Kansas City Royals owner David Glass promised in September that he would spend money to bolster his rotation, and he kept his word.
The acquisitions of James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana, plus the re-signing of Jeremy Guthrie, certainly helped in that regard.
The Royals haven't qualified for postseason play since 1985, and their offseason activity gives them a much better chance of ending that drought.
Chicago White Sox: 35-1
The Chicago White Sox made few moves this offseason. The signing of third baseman Jeff Keppinger represented their only significant transaction.
A solid starting rotation returns, and John Danks will look to return to form following labrum surgery last year.
They will threaten to contend in the AL Central, but they still lack the firepower and the arms to match up with the Detroit Tigers in their division.
Boston Red Sox: 35-1
The Boston Red Sox have a roster loaded with potential. The question is whether their play on the field matches that potential.
Ryan Dempster joins Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in the starting rotation. New manager John Farrell will work with both Lester and Buchholz to help them return to form.
John Lackey came into camp looking svelte and raring to go after sitting for the 2012 season following Tommy John surgery.
Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes will all be trying to infuse new life into the offense, and Jacoby Ellsbury will try to stay on the field and contribute for the entire season.
Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara will bolster a bullpen that was shaky at best last season.
Is it enough to lift the Sox back into contention?
It will be a major challenge to completely reverse themselves after a dismal 2012 season.
Baltimore Orioles: 30-1
After making the postseason for the first time in 15 seasons, the Baltimore Orioles did little to upgrade their roster this winter.
The team will still be competitive in 2013, but not without some challenges.
The Orioles will be counting on Brian Roberts to finally stay healthy and contribute after three lost seasons. Losing Mark Reynolds hurts offensively, and the O's did nothing externally to address their concerns at the designated hitter position.
Baltimore produced magic last year, especially in one-run affairs and extra-inning contests. Expecting that same kind of success in 2013 is a stretch.
Tampa Bay Rays: 25-1
Ever since 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays have proven that they should never be counted out.
Even with the departures of James Shields and Wade Davis, the Rays will march out one of the better pitching staffs in the American League.
However, the loss of B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena will hurt them offensively. Replacing Pena with an under-performing James Loney didn't help.
Concerns with offensive production behind the plate and at first base will be the major hurdles the Rays will have to overcome in 2013.
St. Louis Cardinals: 25-1
The St. Louis Cardinals were just one win away from another World Series berth last season. They'll be challenged to get there in 2013.
That's not to say the Cards won't compete this season—there's too much talent on that roster to count them out.
Losing Chris Carpenter certainly hurts, but St. Louis has talented youngsters Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller ready to soften the blow.
Adding Randy Choate to an already strong bullpen helps as well.
It would be a mistake to count the Cardinals out. History has shown us that.
Oakland Athletics: 22-1
Much like the Baltimore Orioles, the Oakland A's were a surprise team last season, winning the AL West.
However, unlike the Orioles, the A's were active in upgrading their roster for this year.
Outfielder Chris Young adds punch and depth. Jed Lowrie gives manager Bob Melvin several options with his infield, and catcher John Jaso rakes against right-handed pitching.
The rotation, which never got quite enough credit for its role in Oakland's storybook season last year, returns largely intact as well.
The A's figure to be a contender once again this season, but they'll have a battle against the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Texas Rangers: 20-1
The Texas Rangers may have lost the services of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young, but they still have plenty of offensive weapons.
Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski arrive to add their potent bats.
The Rangers didn't get the ace they were looking for in Zack Greinke, but Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish still give them a solid 1-2 punch. The rotation will be further bolstered by the returns of Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz later in the season.
Despite the loss of three major offensive components and their inability to land an ace, the Rangers still will be a formidable opponent.
New York Yankees: 18-1
Despite being the oldest team in baseball, the Yankees are still one of the scariest.
With both Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda returning on one-year deals, the Yanks boast a strong rotation. Legendary closer Mariano Rivera is back for one more run at glory as well. Despite a torn ACL and his age (43), it would be foolhardy to downplay his significance to the Yankees.
Shortstop Derek Jeter appears on track for Opening Day after fracturing his ankle in Game 1 of last year's ALCS. Third baseman Kevin Youkilis arrives to replace Alex Rodriguez for at least the first half of the season.
The Yankees still have concerns. Can they get production behind the plate from the trio of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine? Can Ichiro Suzuki produce with the same consistency shown in the second half last season? Can Brett Gardner be a force after a season largely lost to injury?
The answers to those questions will likely help determine the Yankees' fate in 2013.
Philadelphia Phillies: 15-1
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. was able to make several significant moves this offseason despite being up against a payroll approaching the luxury tax threshold.
Amaro added Delmon Young, Ben Revere, Michael Young, John Lannan and Mike Adams to shore up several key areas.
The Phillies will still have quite a fight on their hands against the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in the NL East.
However, Amaro at least gave them a fighting chance.
Cincinnati Reds: 14-1
Fresh off an NL Central title and a 97-win season, the Cincinnati Reds are once again the favorites in their division.
The rotation will feature a newcomer, however.
Closer Aroldis Chapman brings his considerable talents to a starting role this season. Chapman stretched himself out last spring as well in preparation for a transition, but injuries to Ryan Madson and Bill Bray delayed that decision.
Hard to say that wasn't a bonus for the Reds last year.
The Reds also have a legitimate leadoff hitter in Shin-Soo Choo, who should dramatically improve a spot that hit just .208 last season.
The Reds will be legitimate contenders once again and will hope to advance beyond the NLDS.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 13-1
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent a king's ransom over the past several months in completely revamping their roster.
The pièce de résistance was signing Zack Greinke to a six-year, $147 million contract. Greinke will team with Clayton Kershaw to form a potent lefty-righty punch at the top of the rotation.
The Dodgers will be strengthened by a full season from Josh Beckett, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez as well. Carl Crawford could be a significant contributor at the top of the lineup, provided he returns fully healthy and can produce at the levels seen with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Brandon League becomes the full-time closer and gets help from a terrific supporting cast.
Questions concerning chemistry will linger until the Dodgers prove otherwise, however. Changes made last summer didn't give the boost that was intended, and until the results show that, it will continue to be a storyline.
Atlanta Braves: 12-1
The Atlanta Braves certainly did their part in adding to the offense this winter.
While losing future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones, the Braves more than made up for his loss by adding the Upton brothers.
Justin and B.J. will team with slugger Jason Heyward to form a dynamic outfield trio that could provide years of solid production.
A solid core in the starting rotation along with the best bullpen in the majors will give the Braves a more than legitimate chance of advancing to the World Series.
Detroit Tigers: 11-1
The Detroit Tigers return a team largely intact, with a few notable exceptions.
Gone is left fielder/designated hitter Delmon Young. But in his place arrives Torii Hunter, who hit a career-high .313 last year for the Los Angeles Angels. Hunter also greatly improves the outfield defense.
Gone too is Jose Valverde, who famously imploded last postseason. In his place could be promising prospect Bruce Rondon, who brings blazing speed but no major league experience.
Also arriving, or returning, is Victor Martinez. He hit .330 in 2011 with 12 HR and 103 RBI.
Back too is Anibal Sanchez, courtesy of his new five-year, $80 million contract. Sanchez was outstanding in the final month of the regular season and in the playoffs.
Without question, the Tigers are the clear favorite in the AL Central, and they will be contenders once again for the American League pennant.
Los Angeles Angels: 11-1
With one simple transaction this offseason, the Los Angeles Angels became instant contenders.
Well, there were other reasons as well.
Without question, however, adding Josh Hamilton gives the Angels offense an element of explosiveness. Along with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, the Angels have a trio of hitters that rival that of any tandem in the majors.
Losing Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana definitely stung. Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto attempted to lessen the pain by adding starters Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas.
The bullpen was bolstered with the addition of Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett.
The biggest question for the Angels is the rotation. The performance of Hanson, Blanton and Vargas will play a huge role in the team's chances this season.
San Francisco Giants: 10-1
After winning two World Series titles in three seasons, the San Francisco Giants are once again strong contenders in the NL West.
Returning a team largely intact, the Giants feature one of the best rotations in the National League and a bullpen loaded with proven veteran talent.
The offense isn't sexy, but the Giants have proven that sexy isn't what wins—execution and timely hitting was more than enough to get the job done last year.
While many oddsmakers, including Bovada, favor the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Giants, until the team farther south can prove its worth on the field, I'm not about to give it the edge over the World Series champs quite yet.
Washington Nationals: 9-1
After leading the majors with 98 wins, the Washington Nationals come back with an even stronger team in 2013.
The additions of Denard Span, Dan Haren and Rafael Soriano add to a team that already looked strong on paper. If Haren shows that he is over back and hip issues that plagued him with the Los Angeles Angels last year, he'll be a definite upgrade over Edwin Jackson.
The acquisition of Soriano combined with Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard give the Nationals a powerful trio in the back end of the bullpen.
Span strengthens the outfield defense while also giving the Nats a legitimate leadoff threat.
The Nationals will be looking to give the nation's capital its first chance to host a World Series game since 1933.
Toronto Blue Jays: 8-1
The Toronto Blue Jays have not played postseason baseball since winning their second straight World Series title in 1993.
That could change this season.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos transformed his roster with a series of trades and signings that catapulted them to the top of just about every oddsmakers' list.
A lineup featuring Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion at the top could give opposing pitchers nightmares.
A rotation featuring R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle is equally scary.
While nothing is a given, the Blue Jays have certainly given themselves a chance to bring a World Series title back north of the border.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.