With the World Series over, hot stove season is but days away. Teams can start signing free agents on Nov. 3, but the two biggest are Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. They stand to cash in and sign enormous contracts during the offseason, but no one knows where either of them will end up.
One online sportsbook has some ideas, though. Bovada released odds on free-agent landing spots on Monday (as well as odds for the 2019 World Series, if you can believe it), and it has both Harper and Machado headed to the same team: the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harper and Machado could be Phillies teammates
Bovada has the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that experienced an epic two-month swoon that saw them fall from first to third in the National League East, first in line to sign both Harper and Machado. Here are Harper’s odds from Bovada:
Where will Bryce Harper play game 1 of the 2019 MLB Season?
Philadelphia Phillies 1/1
Chicago Cubs 3/1
Washington Nationals 4/1
San Francisco Giants 15/2
New York Yankees 8/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 17/2
The Phillies are the favorite, with the Cubs and Nationals close behind. Here’s how Machado’s Bovada odds shake out.
Where will Manny Machado play game 1 of the 2019 MLB Season?
Philadelphia Phillies 3/2
Los Angeles Dodgers 9/4
New York Yankees 3/1
Miami Marlins 8/1
Los Angeles Angels 9/1
The Phillies are the heavy favorite, followed by the team that acquired Machado at the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels are also on that list for some reason.
Could the Phillies really sign both of them?
The Phillies could absolutely sign both Machado and Harper. They need to upgrade their offense to compete with the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, and there’s no better way to do that than to sign two of the best hitters in baseball. A few quick trades would easily clear the way on the field.
The Phillies have the need, but the biggest concern here is money. Both Harper and Machado are going to command massive contracts. The Phillies, though, have a lot of money. They signed a 25-year, $5 billion TV contract with Comcast in 2014, and have been running low payrolls for several years. The Phillies 2018 payroll came in at just over $104 million, according to Sportrac, and that’s after adding free agents Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta. If their payroll stays the same in 2019, the Phillies could sign both Machado and Harper to contracts that paid each $50 million a year and they still wouldn’t hit the luxury-tax threshold.
Yes, there are 2019 World Series odds already
Free agent odds weren’t the only ones released on Monday. The Boston Red Sox won their World Series less than 24 hours ago, but sports betting never sleeps. Bovada released odds for the 2019 World Series, and no one should be surprised to see the Red Sox on top with 13/2 odds to repeat.
Boston Red Sox 13/2
Houston Astros 7/1
Los Angeles Dodgers 8/1
New York Yankees 8/1
Chicago Cubs 10/1
Cleveland Indians 12/1
Atlanta Braves 14/1
Milwaukee Brewers 14/1
Many of the same teams from the recently completed playoffs are in the upper echelon, but the positioning is interesting. The Dodgers just lost their second straight World Series, but their odds are under the Astros, who didn’t even make it to the Fall Classic. The Chicago Cubs lost the NL wild-card game and the Cleveland Indians got swept in the ALDS, but their odds are both better than the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that was one win away from making it to the World Series.
But there should be no quibbling over the very bottom of the odds list.
Detroit Tigers 250/1
Kansas City Royals 250/1
Miami Marlins 250/1
Baltimore Orioles 350/1
The Baltimore Orioles finished with a 47-115 record, 61 games out of first place. If that doesn’t earn you 350/1 World Series odds, nothing will.
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