They might be the defending World Series champions, but the Boston Red Sox are not even favored to win the American League East, much less repeat for the title. Their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, have been tabbed by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook to win the division.
The Yankees are at -125 to win the division, while the Red Sox are at +140. The next team is the Tampa Bay Rays at +800. Toronto is +3000 and Baltimore is at +30000. The Yankees are also the top pick to win the World Series, along with Houston, at 6/1. The Red Sox are with the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7/1.
Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello told reporters at Spring Training that he doesn’t think the team has peaked and that they can get better from last year.
“I think anybody can improve,” Porcello said. “Just because you win it all doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of your game that you can’t get better at.”
Yankees Pass on Big Free Agents
New York was rumored to one of the teams interested in either big name free agents, Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. The Yankees are powered by Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, both 7/1 favorites to win the home run title.
Owner and managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said on Sunday in a video that the team didn’t feel they needed to spend a lot of money on big name free agents.
“I’m not against long-term deals,” Steinbrenner said. “Clearly, there are concerns about the ending years of those long-term deals. But what I try to do every offseason is just figure out what our biggest area of need is. This year, it was not an infielder and not an outfielder. It was pitching.”
That’s exactly what the team focused on, and picked up James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason. He is projected to be the No. 2 starter behind Louis Severino.
Red Sox Motivated to Repeat
Last year the Yankees were also the favorite to win the division, but Boston surprised many by overtaking New York in the standings, and the playoffs. Porcello knows that they won’t be surprising anyone this season.
“Ball clubs we play this year are going to feel different about playing us,” Porcello said. “We are going to have a bit of a target on our backs. We are expecting to get everyone’s best game every night.”
The Red Sox were even quieter than the Yankees in the offseason, and could even lose a key player. Relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel has not been offered a deal with Boston, but has not been signed by any other team as well. If they can somehow retain Kimbrel, they have a much better chance at repeating as division winners.
After the Yankees and Red Sox the talent in the division drops off considerably. Tampa Bay has the ability to make some noise, but not many expect that to happen.
Toronto will languish towards the bottom of the division, and would be in the cellar if it wasn’t for Baltimore. The Orioles could be the worst team in baseball, and the Westgate has the projected wins for Baltimore at 59.5, the lowest number they have offered in their history.