Las Vegas apparently is high on the Phillies right now.
Obviously, the Red Sox are at the top of the list but, surprisingly, your Philadelphia Phillies aren’t as far down the pecking order as you might have suspected.
Only the Dodgers, Cubs, Braves, Brewers and Cardinals have better odds among National League teams than the Phillies’ 20-1, and they are 10th out of 30 MLB teams, tied with the Washington Nationals, and ahead of the Mets (25-1), Rockies (35-1), and A’s (35-1).
Why so bullish on a team that suffered a horrendous late-season collapse? Well, Vegas obviously believes the Phillies are going to do something BIG this off-season.
Just a few weeks ago, the Chicago Cubs were the odds-on favorites to land the services of Bryce Harper, but now, the Phillies are EVEN MONEY to land the former Nationals superstar, with the Cubs at 3-1 and Nats at 4-1. But that ain’t all.
The Phils are also 3-2 favorites to land Manny Machado, with the Dodgers at No. 2 and the Yankees, the team many believe will ultimately land the star shortstop, at No. 3, with 3-1 odds. And... the Marlins at 4, with 8-1 odds? Um.... alrighty then.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that Vegas expects the Phils to land BOTH players, just that they are the clear favorites to land at least one of them. But it’s not just Harper and/or Machado that Vegas feels could come to Philadelphia.
A.J. Pollock is an oft-injured center fielder who was a 6.8 fWAR player in 2015, the only season in which he made it through a full season uninjured. Since then, he played in just 12 games in ‘16, 112 games in ‘17 and 113 games last year, where he hit .257/.316/.484 with 21 HRs, 65 RBIs, and had 13 stolen bases. However, he was a plus-defender in center field, helping to give him a 2.5 fWAR while missing about 50 games.
Bovada also has the Phils at 5-2, tied with the Cleveland Indians, to land free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson. Only the Cardinals have better odds.
But what about pitching?
The Phils are not the favorites to land Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel. Instead, his current team, as well as the Angels and Yankees, are seen as the favorites to get him. However, the Phillies are tied with the Dodgers at 13-2 odds to sign the lefty.
Yes, the Phils need a left-handed starter, but Keuchel strikes out just 6.73 batters per nine and traditionally has one of the highest ground ball rates in the league. He needs a good defense behind him to be successful and... well... you know the Phillies defense was abysmal in 2018.
Bovada also has the Phils on the board to sign Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, but Boston is the clear favorite to retain his services, with his old team, the Braves, having the 2nd-best odds to bring him back into the fold. The Phils are tied with the Cubs and Dodgers at 5-1.
Interestingly, Bovada does not have the Phillies on the board to sign Clayton Kersahw. The Dodgers are heavy favorites to keep him should he decide not to opt out of his contract or to re-sign him if he does eschew the final two years of his $70 million deal. The only other starter on Bovada’s board is left-hander Patrick Corbin, and the Yankees are heavy, heavy favorites to sign him to a free agent deal. The Phils do not appear on that board, either.
So it’s clear Vegas believes the Phillies are going to be very busy this winter, hence their status as a top-10 team to win the World Series in 2019.