Major League Baseball’s Hot Stove League really hasn’t gotten going strong yet because it is expected that the owners will lock out the players when the collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1. Thus, all free agent movement, trades, etc., would stop until the sides agree on a new CBA. That could lead to a flurry of moves between now and then, though. The Los Angeles Dodgers remain the +480 favorites on the 2022 World Series odds.
Analysis World Series 2022 Odds
Los Angeles has three major free agents in shortstop Corey Seager, the former NL Rookie of the Year, super-utility All-Star Chris Taylor and pitcher Max Scherzer, who finished as the Cy Young runner-up. It’s quite possible if not likely all three end up signing elsewhere. It is expected the Dodgers legend and three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw will re-sign, however.
In 636 big-league games over seven seasons (2015-2021), Seager has posted a .297/.367/.504 slashline with 394 runs, 164 doubles, 12 triples, 104 home runs and 364 RBI. Became the second Dodger in franchise history (Orel Hershiser in 1988) to win the NLCS and World Series MVP in the same season after clubbing seven homers in 18 games and slashing .328/.425/.746 in the 2020 postseason. The Texas Rangers are heavily in on Seager.
If the Dodgers lose Seager, the immediate move would be to slide Trea Turner to shortstop. Turner played second base once traded to the Dodgers in July, but by most metrics, he grades out to be a better defender at short than Seager.
Taylor was an All-Star who played six positions for a team that ended up winning 106 regular-season games. He played some second and third base, shortstop and all three spots in the outfield. After his walk-off homer in the Wild Card Game kept the season alive for the Dodgers, Taylor once again extended the season for Los Angeles when he hit three home runs against the Braves in Game 5 of the NLCS with the Dodgers trailing three games to one.
Scherzer posted a 15-4 record with a 2.46 ERA and 236 strikeouts this past season, splitting time between the Nationals and Dodgers. He joined Los Angeles in a blockbuster July 30 trade that sent top prospects Josiah Gray and Keibert Ruiz, among others, to Washington and also brought Turner to L.A.
The Dodgers did not make an $18.4 million qualifying offer to Kershaw but that was expected because his health is a bit in question. The future Hall of Famer will re-sign at a lower price. He logged just 121 2/3 innings during an injury-plagued 2021 campaign, but still posted a terrific 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 144/21 K/BB ratio.
The Houston Astros are +720 second-favorites to win the 2022 World Series after losing to the Braves in six games in the 2021 Fall Classic. 2B Jose Altuve, 3B Alex Bregman, SS Carlos Correa and 1B Yuli Gurriel have started more postseason games together than any four teammates in MLB history (73 games). In Game 2 of the World Series, the Astros group surpassed the quintet of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill, which started 68 postseason games for the Yankees (1996-2001).
However, Correa is a free agent and almost surely will not return. Correa declined a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer for 2022. He could very well land one of the most expensive deals this offseason, likely in the $300 million range. The Astros will receive a compensatory draft pick should he end up signing elsewhere. The Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are in on Correa.
The Yankees are +865 to win the World Series but have yet to make any major moves this offseason other than bringing back manager Aaron Boone. The Yankees offered former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander a one-year, $25 million deal before he elected to re-sign with the Astros.
This past season, New York clinched the 57th playoff appearance in franchise history (119 seasons, 47.9%). It qualified for the postseason for the 23rd time in 27 seasons since 1995 (missing only in 2008, ’13-14, ’16).
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