As we examine the
Top 5 betting favorites to win the 2012 World Series, the common thread with
each of them is pitching. Most every team needs it and even those who have it
want more of it.
joins a pitching
staff that includes Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, not to mention the
emergence of Vance Worley. The former Red Sox closer signed a four-year
contract for $50,000,058 —- the 58 cents being a tribute to his uniform number.
He replaces Ryan Madson who was reportedly
close to a deal with the Phillies to be the teams closer but must now look
elsewhere for employment.
While all this pitching is well and good, what
the Phillies really need is more
offense. They need to decide what to do about shortstop Jimmy Rollins who wants
a five-year deal. They are looking at adding another bat but the free agent
market outside of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder is thin. The Phils have the
pitching but need another OF to join Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino.
The New York Yankees have already made one significant
post season move signing CC Sabathia to a one-year contract extension worth $30
million dollars. They also picked up contract options on second baseman
Robinson Cano and outfielder Nick Swisher and are reportedly looking at an A.J.
Burnett for Jason Bay trade with the Mets. Like all teams, contenders or not,
New York needs pitching because after Sabathia, there’s a big drop-off in the
Red Sox (8/1)
I’ll admit that
I’m a little surprised that the Red Sox are lined this high. They had the most
turmoil of any of the ‘Fab Five Teams’ and seem to lack the intangibles to be a
contender. Things like heart for
Theo Epstein has left to join the Cubs and manager Terry Francona was the fall
guy for the mighty September collapse.
New GM Ben Cherington has made no secret of
the Red Sox's need for a right-handed-hitting outfielder like Cuban defector Yoenis
Cespedes, who defected to the Dominican Republic over the summer. Other options
are Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham and maybe the oft injured Grady Sizemore.
What they really need is to do some major
house cleaning. Maybe that will help get rid of the stench from the 2011
Call it intuition or an educated guess but I
don’t feel it for the Texas Rangers. They were just a strike away from the 2011
title on two different occasions but couldn’t get the job done in St. Louis and
there aren’t many teams that get a third shot at the ring. They have already
taken a step to solidify their starting rotation for next year by picking up
the option on Colby Lewis but without free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson, they’ll
be in trouble especially if Wilson signs with the division rival Angels.
Offensively they’ve got few equals. The
Rangers hit .283 last season and with Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz
and Mike Napoli coming back, there shouldn’t be any drop-off with the bats.
Count Texas as one of those teams who needs pitching in bad way.
Justin Verlander was a unanimous winner for
the American League Cy Young award and is the primary reason bettors are
jumping on the Tigers bandwagon. Verlander led the majors in wins (24-5), led
the majors in strikeouts (250) and his ERA (2.40) was the best among AL starting
pitchers who qualified for the title.
Elsewhere the Tigers look to be in good shape
on the mound especially with the emergence of Doug Fister as a strong No. 2
starter and Max Scherzer in the third spot. The Tigers have interest in adding
free agent 3B Aramis Ramirez who many believe has a major attitude and isn’t
much of a clubhouse guy. He did hit .306 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs in 2010-11
so teams might overlook the other stuff.
standard ‘Hot Stove’ disclaimer; the free agency season is underway so future
signings could impact betting odds. Still the five teams along with the Cardinals are
the best of the bunch.