A streak that began with Ned Colletti at the helm of the Los Angeles Dodgers front office has continued under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. The team has won six straight National League West titles and two consecutive NL pennants, but a World Series title continues to evade the franchise.
Despite their NL West dominance and regular trips to the postseason, it wasn’t until 2017 that the Dodgers reached the Fall Classic. It was their first berth since the magical 1988 season that was capped off with an upset of the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.
The Dodgers are again heading into another season in which they are one of the favorites to win a championship. Per MLB betting odds at 888 Sport US, the Dodgers hold 7/1 odds to win the 2019 World Series.
Ahead of them are the defending champion Boston Red Sox, as well as the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, all at 6/1 odds to win the World Series next season.
The Dodgers signed Clayton Kershaw to a contract extension, re-signed David Freese and extended manager Dave Roberts. Their lineup should receive a boost in the form of Corey Seager, who missed most of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Though, there will also be a new look as Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood were traded to the Cincinnati Reds.
Meanwhile, Boston figures to return much of its core from a championship winning team but did lose Joe Kelly in free agency as he signed a three-year contract with the Dodgers. Kelly threw five scoreless innings and had eight strikeouts over four appearances in the 2018 World Series.
The Red Sox will now face the same challenge as the Astros, who were defeated by the eventual champions in the American League Championship Series. Houston boasts a young and talented roster but face some questions in free agency as well.
They have won at least 101 games in each of the past two seasons and should reach that benchmark again in 2019.
Similarly, the Yankees are in position to contend as well. But like in 2018, the Red Sox could again stand in their way. New York won 100 games but were still required to play in the AL Wild Card Game because they weren’t division champions.
Whereas the betting odds are favored toward AL teams that most would predict will contend in 2019, the NL is more open behind the Dodgers. After facing the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series in back-to-back years, the Chicago Cubs were expected to get there again in 2018.
However, like the Yankees, playing in an extremely competitive division worked against them. The Cubs also found themselves in a Wild Card Game, which they lost at Wrigley Field to the Colorado Rockies.
At minimum, the Cubs should again contend for an NL Central title and spot in the postseason. They have 11/1 odds to win the 2019 World Series. The Cubs’ biggest question mark might lie in the bullpen and be one that is somewhat difficult to address because of their payroll.