With spring training coming to a close, that can only mean one thing, baseball is back.
With a new Major League Baseball season, there come new expectations. Whether you are a fan of the Oakland Athletics or the San Francisco Giants, fans of either side of the bay area should expect a successful year for their respective team.
In the East Bay, the Oakland Athletics are coming off their second straight AL West Division championship. However, they still have managed to go from being the team that everyone was sleeping on to being the favorites to win their division for a third straight season.
Vegasinsider.com puts out the odds for each team in MLB to win the World Series. The site has Oakland at 18/1, which is tied with the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers for sixth-best odds. The Seattle Mariners are at 50/1 and coming in at dead last are the Houston Astros with 250/1 odds.
The Angels have stars like Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. The Rangers just added power-hitting Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. The Mariners made the biggest free agent signing in baseball when they gave Robinson Cano a 10-year $240 million contract, but they still have issues with the rest of their team and let’s face it, the Astros just suck.
Considering the moves that have been made by the teams in the AL West, those odds make sense. Some of the key moves made by the A’s were adding starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and closer Jim Johnson, who had at least 50 saves the past two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles. Despite these additions, they did lose arguably their best pitcher from last season in Bartolo Colon along their former closer Grant Balfour. With a catastrophic season-ending injury to their projected opening day starter Jarrod Parker, the fate of the top of the A’s rotation now lies in the hands of young 23-year-old Sonny Gray.
Over the past two seasons, their kryptonite has been the Detroit Tigers who have knocked them out of the playoffs both years. If the A’s want to reach their first World Series since 1990, they will likely have to defeat the Tigers who are given 8/1 odds to win it all.
Over in San Francisco, the Giants are coming off a season their fans would like to forget. After winning their second World Series in three years in 2012, the orange and black followed that up with a stinker as they finished with 76 wins and 86 losses in 2013, tied for third place in the NL West division.
For 2014, vegasinsider.com puts the Giants at 20/1 odds, seventh-best in MLB. They have made some nice additions both in their lineup and starting pitching with the signings of left fielder Michael Morse and pitcher Tim Hudson. The big problem they face is in their own division. The Los Angeles Dodgers seem to have found a money-growing tree judging by their $235 million payroll. The Dodgers are given 11/2 odds to win the World Series, by far the best odds of any team. With Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw first baseman Adrian Gonzalez being just two of the many star players on the Los Angeles squad, it is no wonder why they are the favored team to win it all. This is bad news to any Giants fan hoping to see another parade down Market Street.
The good news is baseball is not decided on a computer or by Vegas bookies; it all goes down on the field so just sit back, relax and enjoy the 162-game journey that is Major League Baseball.