Last week, we took a look at the AL’s pre-trade deadline futures, marveling at how many teams had decisions to make regarding how seriously they planned on pursuing the postseason. The Blue Jays and Astros were buyers, the Tigers wound up sellers and the Yankees and Orioles essentially stayed put.
This week, we’ll give the senior circuit its due and take a look at the post-deadline fortunes of all the National League teams, many of which are already looking toward next year.
Less than half of the NL teams are above .500, yet the Padres clung to their assets in the hopes of an unlikely run at the postseason.
San Diego and Arizona opened Monday’s action 6.5 games back of the second Wild Card. Even though there’s still some movement ahead via waivers, we can bet futures confident we know the personnel of the teams we’re backing.
Here are our post-trade deadline recommendations for the 15 National League teams. (Odds via 5Dimes)
Arizona Diamondbacks (+8000 to win NL, +20000 Series): While Paul Goldschmidt is having an MVP-type season, the D’backs look like a team whose current ceiling is .500. Considering the Snakes won 64 games last year, finishing with baseball’s worst record, shooting for the stars and topping 80 would be an impressive improvement. Not worthbacking.
Atlanta Braves (+9500 NL, +25000 WS): Braves knew they were rebuilding and have actually performed far better than expected. Even with Freddie Freeman back, this offense would struggle to do enough damage to win your Tuesday night softball league.
Chicago Cubs (+1225 NL, +2500 WS): The Cubs have realistic aspirations of making their first postseason since 2008. You’ll either hear they’re too young or so young they’re bullet-proof. Adding Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter to bolster the pitching didn’t move the needle much.
Cincinnati Reds (+18500 NL, +50000 WS): Selling off Johnny Cueto was your cue to check out here. Closer Aroldis Chapman and slugger Jay Bruce were coveted by contenders but remained, while Mike Leake was moved to the Giants. Manager Brian Price should be on a short leash.
Colorado Rockies (+30000 NL, +85000 WS): Last year’s Rockies won 66 games due to massive injuries. This year’s team barely got going, moving All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto for Jose Reyes and prospects. Obviously no value in chasing an astronomical payoff.
Los Angeles Dodgers (+335 NL, +700 WS): Despite picking up starters Alex Wood and Mat Latos to round out the rotation, their odds barely moved. The brilliance of starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are still worth backing, but there are questions that remain unanswered. The hope now is Yasiel Puig finds his groove.
Miami Marlins (+18500 NL, +50000 WS): Since Jose Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon have all missed significant time, the Marlins never had a chance. The Fish could play a spoiler role in September, but have no chance at making the playoffs.
Milwaukee Brewers (+70000 NL, +200000 WS): Oddsmakers were still protecting themselves entering deadline week, but after the Brewers moved outfielders Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra in addition to pitchers Mike Fiers and Jonathan Broxton, their numbers skyrocketed. Starting 4-17 effectively ended their season early.
New York Mets (+1075 NL, +2400 WS): Definitely tempting to take a shot on those arms. Went for it in dealing highly-regarded pitching prospects Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to acquire Yoenis Cespedes. David Wright should be back at some point. Tyler Clippard joining the bullpen should also help. If you want to back a long shot, the payoff isn’t likely to get much better.
Pittsburgh Pirates (+675 NL, +1400 WS): If Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and AJ Burnett can get into October without wearing down, there’s enough pitching to take a shot here, especially with Cole around to trust in a one-and-done Wild Card. Time to hop on the bandwagon if you’re going to.
San Diego Padres (+3500 NL, +8000 WS): They’re not necessarily through yet, but need to win at nearly a 70 percent clip to overcome a lethargic season thus far. There’s no way to seriously expect the Padres to play well enough to overcome the teams already in front of them.
San Francisco Giants (+750 NL, +1500 WS): Following wins in 13 of 14 games, the defending champs looked like they were going to run away and hide, but enter a week’s worth of road games against the Braves and Cubs as losers of 3 of 4. They’re right on the Dodgers’ heels and still have a number of intangibles in play, including Madison Bumgarner to pitch a potential Wild Card game. Adding Cincinnati’s Leake to help strengthen the rotation with Tim Hudson on the DL can only help.
St. Louis Cardinals (+280 NL, +500 WS): Because the Dodgers failed to make a major splash, oddsmakers have now installed the Cardinals, armed with the best record in baseball, as NL favorites. They’ve got a substantial lead for home field advantage in the National League, but there are certainly questions about their starting rotation since they didn’t replace Adam Wainwright. Although John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha can hold the fort down, there are enough question marks to resist riding with the Redbirds. They’ve added Broxton and Steve Cishek to the bullpen and picked up another bat in Brandon Moss, but I’d wait to see if there’s not a more lucrative payoff available in the coming weeks if they hit a rough patch. At the moment, having the best record in baseball in spite of a few glaring question marks doesn’t make for a good buy.
Washington Nationals (+390 NL, +800 WS): Max Scherzer has done his part in anchoring a rotation that was expected to be baseball’s deepest and most formidable, but only Jordan Zimmermann has joined him in being consistent. Doug Fister, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have all had their issues, as has the bullpen. Fortunately, Fister and Gonzalez have picked up their level and Jonathan Papelbon came on board to close, instantly making Drew Storen one of baseball’s premier set-up men. Both the defense and the bats have also had moments that haven’t inspired confidence, though it will help that Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman both returned to the lineup to provide better protection for standout Bryce Harper. Nothing Matt Williams has done as a manager leads you to believe he can lead this team to the top.
Tony Mejia is a national sports writer and senior contributor at VegasInsider.com. He’s also the owner and operator of Antony Dinero, the most successful documented volume handicapper in the industry. View his analysis daily at VegasInsider.com. Contact Tony at [email protected].