With Max Scherzer having signed a 7-year deal with Washington, James Shields is the only big-ticket free agent still available. The team that signs him will add 2-4 wins to their projected total; otherwise, only a big injury between now and the start of the season can do much to change any team's chances of winning.
Bovada has released its new betting odds for winning the 2015 World Series, which I've included below. The second set of odds you see shows what the odds were for each team when they were first posted back at the end of October:
Odds to win the 2015 World Series
- Washington Nationals: 6/1 (10/1)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: 8/1 (15/2)
- Boston Red Sox: 12/1 (22/1)
- Chicago Cubs: 12/1 (50/1)
- Los Angeles Angels: 12/1 (10/1)
- St. Louis Cardinals: 12/1 (12/1)
- Detroit Tigers: 14/1 (10/1)
- Seattle Mariners: 16/1 (18/1)
- San Francisco Giants: 18/1 (12/1)
- Toronto Blue Jays: 18/1 (33/1)
- Baltimore Orioles: 20/1 (20/1)
- Chicago White Sox: 20/1 (40/1)
- Kansas City Royals: 25/1 (16/1)
- New York Yankees: 25/1 (22/1)
- San Diego Padres: 25/1 (66/1)
- Cleveland Indians: 28/1 (25/1)
- Atlanta Braves: 33/1 (22/1)
- Miami Marlins: 33/1 (50/1)
- New York Mets: 33/1 (40/1)
- Pittsburgh Pirates: 33/1 (20/1)
- Oakland Athletics: 40/1 (20/1)
- Texas Rangers: 40/1 (33/1)
- Cincinnati Reds: 50/1 (33/1)
- Milwaukee Brewers: 50/1 (40/1)
- Houston Astros: 66/1 (100/1)
- Tampa Bay Rays: 66/1 (33/1)
- Arizona Diamondbacks: 100/1 (100/1)
- Colorado Rockies: 100/1 (100/1)
- Minnesota Twins: 100/1 (100/1)
- Philadelphia Phillies: 100/1 (75/1)
The Nationals were viewed as one of the favorites even before adding Scherzer; they're now the betting favorite. Given that eight teams make the divisional round of the playoffs, a team with lower than 8/1 odds might be viewed as close to a lock to win its division, with a better than average (1 in 8) chance of making its way through the crapshoot that is baseball's postseason.
Other teams that have seen their chances grow quite a bit: The Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, Padres, Marlins, and Astros. (Though those last two remain longshots.)
Going in the opposite direction, the Tigers, Giants, Royals, Braves, Pirates, A's, Reds, and Rays are the teams who've seen their chances take the biggest dips.
The Indians' odds are about the same. They've actually gotten a bit worse (or better, if you're planning to wager money on them), which I find a little surprising. The team hasn't made any major additions, but Brandon Moss and Gavin Floyd are modest ones. Plus, since those first odds came out Corey Kluber won the AL Cy Young. Given that odds are based on people's impressions of a team, I would have though that award (and Michael Brantley finishing 3rd in the MVP vote) would have improved the Tribe's standing.
Proportionally, the Cubs have seen the biggest difference in their odds, and have gone from bring one of the bottom ten teams in the initial odds to now being tied for third overall. They've added Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, but I don't understand why anyone would view them as one of the five or six best teams in baseball. They have a wealth of strong position player prospects, but they seem at least a year away from true contention.
Their crosstown rivals the White Sox have seen their odds shortsen a great deal too, due to the addition of a trio of second-tier free agents: Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, and David Robertson. They'll be improved, but I think their current odds undersell how bad they were in 2014. I would avoid wagering on either of the Chicago teams.
Elsewhere in the AL Central, Detroit has gone from co-favorites in the AL to 3rd best, and Kansas City has gone from 3rd to tied for 8th. No other division has four teams as closely bunch together as the Tigers, White Sox, Royals, and Indians; another sign that the division feels very up for grabs in 2015.
I like the Indians at 28 to 1, and if I were looking for a middle-odds team to back, it might very well be them.