Happy Pitchers and Catchers everyone!
Spring Training, where beer tastes like Axe body spray and clear acrylic stilettos. Where the Oakland A’s play in an actual baseball stadium. Where (El) Super Burritos in North Scottsdale flow like well tequila. Where the Pink Pony is a steakhouse not a strip club. Where the poolside bar at Hotel Valley Ho is manned by my favorite former Royal with a
porn star baseball name to end all names, Pete LaCock. Where Julian Tavares drives a rickshaw with his face.
Before we make our annual pilgrimage to the base of Camelback, Kyle Magin and myself check in with Bet It or Forget It—every team’s odds to win the World Series. Print it and take it to the book!
By Kyle Magin and Andrew Pridgen
Washington Nationals: 6/1
AJ: Forget it. The Nats’ rotation could be Dwight Gooden, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Jim Abbott and I wouldn’t pick them to win a one-man primary. I blame their hiring of Giants’ color guy FP Santangelo prior to the 2010 season (the Giants’ first World Series) on their bad luck.
KM: Forget it. The Nats can’t stay healthy–Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper have lost massive portions of the last two seasons. The rotation is outstanding and will probably only get better in 2015, but the bats seem to have a hard time grooving together.
Los Angeles Dodgers: 13/2
AJ: Forget it. Are there any years left on Joe Torre’s contract?
KM: Forget it. The weird power outages from the lineup, particularly Yasiel Puig, are too troubling to ignore.
Los Angeles Angels: 10/1
KM: Bet it. In the event that everything goes right for the lineup (big if, I know) you’re looking at two shutdown pitchers at the tail end of last season—CJ Wilson and Matt Shoemaker–going 2-4 times a week. The rotation in Orange County looks special.
AJ: Forget it. Singing cowboy’s former franchise is a year older and Mike Trout is the Gwen Stefani of
Orange County baseball; he’d probably have a better go in his own.
St. Louis Cardinals: 12/1
AJ: Bet it. Ordinarily, I’d like to see this more at 20/1 but Matheny’s Cards are like clockwork; guaranteed LCS appearance, what happens from there, nobody knows.
KM: Bet it. The Central’s no walk in the park, but the rest of the NL isn’t exactly dominant. The Cards have been there before and can get back again.
Boston Red Sox: 14/1
KM: Forget it. The lineup is aging, the rotation is improved but not enough to contain the top-end AL lineups they’ll see every other series.
AJ: Forget it. Whether Panda Express out-eats Ortiz at Golden Corral on every road trip is the red herring here, the real problem is pitching. Look for Ramirez to be moved by the All-Star break as the Sox start to build a pen.
Seattle Mariners: 14/1
AJ: Forget it. EVERYONE’s sleeper pick but there’s too big a drop off after Hernandez to matter. The AL West could provide a Wild Card team, but Seattle would play the role of 2014 Pittsburgh.
KM: Forget it. See above.
Chicago White Sox: 15/1
KM: Bet it. Somehow Rick Hahn filled a hole at every need within the organization–Jeff Samardzija, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson solve a lot of problems. One more bat with speed at the trade deadline and the South Siders are in business.
AJ: Forget it. Like Superfan Obama’s first year in office, the resurgent ChiSox got too much too soon. They’ll finish third in the Central but at least there’s a reason to go to the new Comiskey besides you saw it on My Best Friend’s Wedding and want to see what all the fuss is about.
San Francisco Giants 15/1
AJ: Bet it. Not likely to repeat especially since Boch had chest pains after MadBum’s first bullpen sesh—but at 15/1 those odds will shrink considerably should they sniff the playoffs and pull the trigger for the Nats’ odd-man-out Jordan Zimmermann at the deadline. Long-shot, but don’t sleep on the defending champs if Cain gets healthy and Timmy really brought Taye Diggs back from his island vacation.
KM: Forget it. 2015 is an odd number, no?
Chicago Cubs: 16/1
AJ: Forget it. No team this stacked deserves to be 16/1…but the Cubbies. At some point middle-aged Theo is going to channel young Theo and produce a winner. 2015 is not that point.
KM: Forget it. Some nice adds, but the Cubs’ kids still aren’t ready yet. Anthony Rizzo is going to make it a fun ride though, however pointless.
San Diego Padres: 18/1
AJ: Forget it. Money can’t buy you love but hopefully the gorgeous PetCo gets a little more of it beyond Marines on furlough. Kemp’s a clubhouse cancer but those throwback brown unis can make any man change for the better.
KM: Bet it! Justin Upton has a hammer and a change of scenery is exactly what Kemp needed.
Detroit Tigers: 20/1
KM: Forget it. One too many pieces have been dealt away from the rotation to make up for the inevitable slump the bats will hit at some point in the season. The injuries to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez don’t bode well for the beginning of the season.
AJ: Forget it. Window closing faster than when your hand is hanging out making airplane motions on the freeway and your grandma absent-mindedly rolls it up on you. OK, bad analogy, how ‘bout this: Detroit and their recovery saga is on magazine covers now so the secret’s out…too bad it’s all happening two years too late.
Baltimore Orioles: 25/1
KM: Forget it. This team can’t get on base frequently enough to put a scare into the rest of the league–though they may get out of the weak East.
AJ: Bet it. Hellsyeah. B-more’s been on the cusp for three years and has lost nobody. The only reason they’re 25/1 is because Wei-Yen Chen isn’t playoff tested. I like Bud Norris to win 18 this year.
Cleveland Indians: 25/1
KM: Forget it. Swisher and Bourn were terrible buys and this team doesn’t have enough firepower or financial flexibility to overcome that $30 million in deadweight.
AJ: Bet it. Absolutely. I always choose Cleveland on Griffey for Nintendo 64 so I’m choosing them here. Why on the prior? Man-Ram, Thome, Vizquel, Alomar, Matt Williams, Grissom and Justice. What the FUCK? OK, so Moss, Kipnis, Swisher, Bourn, Brantley and Gomes don’t strike as much fear…or, wait a minute—do they?
New York Mets: 25/1
AJ: Bet it. I’m on record that every 25/1 team is going to get bet by me. Don’t sleep on the Mets’ building on the moderate success of 2014. Cuddyer, Murphy and Wright are the closest Queens has had to a murderers’ row since Mookie, Daryl, Ray and Gary. Kyle, is it true Bobby Bonilla is still on their payroll? Maybe they should get him to be Mr. Met, he wouldn’t even have to wear the head.
KM: Forget it. Bobby B is still definitely getting paid–$1 million a year for the next decade, if memory serves. The Mets’ staff looks strong until you look closely–Matt Harvey is coming off of Tommy John Surgery and Bartolo Colon was born in the Ford administration. That’s an unsteady rack on which to hang your coat.
New York Yankees: 25/1
KM: Forget it. The Yankees have too much tied up in a World Series from a half-decade ago to think about another one any time soon.
AJ: Bet it. More a transition year, but now that the Jeter sheet cake is in the break room garbage bin we can get back to baseball in the Bronx. Nobody’s a lock in the AL East and why not the Yankees-as-underdog?
Pittsburgh Pirates: 25/1
AJ: Bet it. Here we go. The best position player in the game in McCutcheon and four solid starters is a great jump off at PNC. They should take the division and then it’s all kinds of “We Are Family” references come playoff time.
KM: Bet it. McCutcheon is worth 5-8 wins on his own, which should be just enough in the Central.
Kansas City Royals: 30/1
KM: Forget it. Lightning won’t strike twice, especially with the Sox picking up a half-dozen games from somewhere.
AJ: Forget it. They won’t miss Shields or Country Breakfast but the fans have left and now there’s only fountains and Ned Yost…who was just happy to be there in 2014.
Miami Marlins: 30/1
AJ: Forget it. Fuck Florida.
KM: Forget it. Saint Happening.
Toronto Blue Jays: 30/1
KM: Bet it. Edwin Encarnacion is a force of nature heading into a walk year. Joey Bats still has pop in the stick and Josh Donaldson will see a hell of a lot more pitches with protection like that in the lineup. The rotation is a little old, but again, this is the AL East we’re talking about.
AJ: Forget it. Fuck Canada.
Oakland Athletics: 40/1
KM: Forget it. Ike Davis cannot be a solution for your ballclub, especially if you’re still expecting 450-plus at-bats from someone like Coco Crisp. Scott Kazmir will have to do even more for this team than he did last year when he put 190-plus innings on his arm.
AJ: Forget it. Smug Brad Pitt’s
Billy Beane’s got another second-place AL West finish in his crosshairs, which is overachieving and buys him one more year of swamp office as Wolff tries to convince yet another investment group that he can build a stadium on the site of the Hegenburger Road Holiday Inn Express.
Texas Rangers: 40/1
KM: Forget it. The Dallas Morning News will go with wall-to-wall ‘Boys coverage starting in April this year instead of May.
AJ: Forget it. Nothing’s left of the 2010 squad though I may watch The Rookie tonight and change my mind (I know he was a Devil Ray but he made his MLB debut at Arlington.)
Houston Astros: 60/1
KM: Forget it. I understand and still dislike ‘the process’ of dismantling your team to rebuild from the ground up. The Cubs are at least tolerable about the whole business and still act like you should expect to see winning baseball. But the ‘Stros are intentionally selling this goddamn shirt. You’re an asshole if you own or think about owning that shirt and deserve… (Googles ‘Astros’)… Jesus, 310 losses in the last three seasons. Have a little shame.
AJ: Bet it. Though I like them more at 75/1 I actually have them as a dark horse to with the AL West. Things have been quiet in Houston too long. Let them play!
Milwaukee Brewers: 60/1
AJ: Forget it. Nothing for recent retiree/part-time owner Bud Selig to see here but sausage races and a Bob Uecker sighting. At 81, he’s about all the Brewers have left.
KM: Forget it. The shock of falling apart like they did at the end of last year–3-7 in the last 10 games after leading the division almost season–isn’t a stink that washes off with one shower. Ask the Red Sox about the beer n’ chicken hangover.
Tampa Bay Rays: 60/1
AJ: Forget it. Longoria is playing third for the Giants by August.
KM: Forget it. Maddon was the straw that stirred the drink in St. Pete.
Cincinnati Reds: 70/1
AJ: Forget it. Reds of late = bigger let down than Kal Daniels.
KM: Bet it! Joey Votto is definitely going to bounce back because guys in their 30s with massive contracts and debilitating lower body injuries have no problem finding their power again.
Atlanta Braves: 90/1
Bet it. Forget it. Thought it was 2017. the Braves should be trumped by Flintstone’s and Good Times reruns on the Superstation like the good old days this season.
KM: Forget it. How pumped are you if you’re Jason Heyward right now? Sure, you’ve traded one sweltering, shitty southern town for another, but at least you’re clear of the wreckage at Turner.
Minnesota Twins: 100/1
KM: Forget it. A million times forget it. “Hey, we’re trying to rebuild for the future. Let’s fire one of the three best managers in baseball and try to make these spare parts from the Santana/Liriano administration work again!”
AJ: Bet it. Torii and Mauer mash and young pitching doesn’t hurt. Darkhorse to be 2015’s Royals.
Arizona Diamondbacks: 120/1
AJ: Forget it. If the D-backs and Miami ever contract into a single franchise with three world titles that should’ve never been in baseball in the first place, then I’ll bet on them. Till then…
KM: Forget it. The only thing worse than the Gibson years will be life after the Grind King.
Colorado Rockies: 120/1
AJ: Bet it. The best 120/1 which should be 25/1 long-shot on the board. Forgotten in the top-heavy NL West, they have this thing about winning at home and the current rotation is as good as any in the NL (you heard).
KM: Forget it. For more fun than burning any money whatsoever on the Mile High Meltdown, bring up the Monforts to any actual Rockies fan and watch them blow up like that little kid in Looper.
Philadelphia Phillies: 300/1
AJ: Bet it. I learn every three months or so when I watch Rocky never to count Philly out—especially when they’re 300/1 shots. Easy money.
KM: What the hell, bet it. I enjoy Always Sunny and Ryan Howard’s Subway commercials. It’d be fun to get another 7 years of those two things.