American League East Prediction & Odds
The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champs but they’re not currently favored to win the American League East in 2019. Is there value in backing the Red Sox to win the division or will the Yankees oust their hated rivals this time around?
New York Yankees
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Yankees are 5/6 favorites to win the American League East in 2019. While many fans hoped the Bombers would sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper this offseason, the Yankees went another direction and still improved their club. They acquired James Paxton from their Mariners in November and brought back J.A. Happ on a two-year, $34 million contract in December.
The Yankees also signed reliever Zack Britton to a three-year, $39 million contract, as well as Adam Ottavino to a three-year, $27 million deal. As if they needed more offense, the Bombers inked DJ LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract and took a flier on Troy Tulowitzki (one year, $555,000).
Boston Red Sox
Although they’re not the current favorites, the Red Sox still have good odds to win the AL East at 7/5. Boston lost Joe Kelly (Dodgers) and Ian Kinsler (Padres) in free agency and are not expected to re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel. That said, the Red Sox didn’t totally stand pat this winter. They brought back Nathan Eovaldi on a four-year deal after the starter was critical to their World Series success last year.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays won 90 games a year ago but remain a long-shot to win the AL East, at least compared to the Yankees and Red Sox. Tampa Bay is 10/1 to win the division after yet another quiet offseason. That said, the Rays did sign Charlie Morton (formerly of the Astros) to a two-year contract in December.
Toronto Blue Jays
While not in the same category as the rebuilding Orioles, the Blue Jays at 30/1 are not expected to be legitimate contenders in the AL East. They signed Freddy Galvis (Padres) to a one-year deal and also added Matt Shoemaker (Angels). They did not bring back Marco Estrada (A’s), nor Yangervis Solarte (Giants).
At 250/1 to win the American League East, the Orioles are not only the biggest long shots to win in their own division, they are one of the biggest long shots to win in any division in baseball. Baltimore is in total rebuild mode, as well it should be.
AL East Quick-Hit Prediction
While the odds are very similar, I think it’s interesting that the Yankees and not the Red Sox are currently favored to win the AL East. It’s not as if Boston isn’t formidable: The BoSox run through the postseason last year was one of the most dominant efforts that we have seen from a team that won the World Series.
That said, I do like what the Yankees did this offseason in trading for Paxton and bringing back Happ to pair with Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia in the rotation. They also boast one of the best offenses in baseball again, thanks to Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, the underrated Aaron Hicks, as well as Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and newcomer LeMahieu.
The Red Sox will likely make me look foolish for this pick, but I do think there will be some regression to the mean after Boston cruised to the World Series a year ago. I’m basically banking on a hang over.
2019 National League Central Prediction: New York Yankees 5/6