Why are odds makers bullish on the Mets?

The other day, Metsblog’s Matthew Cerrone dropped a nice little tidbit. According to one pre-season book, the Mets head into winter at 20-to-1 to win the 2018 World Series. Now that may not sound too fantastic, but it puts them eighth in line, odds-wise, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, the defending champ Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Eighth place in this group gets you into the playoffs. Just sayin’…

Why would Las Vegas be so optimistic? What does Westgate SportsBook see what we don’t? This is a team whose starting pitching staff, the putative backbone of the squad, has been decimated by injuries for the last two seasons. After the July/August yard sale, the offense is missing a lot of power, as well as the proverbial “veteran presence.” The infield defense could generously be described as “rickety.” Their second best position player will be on the shelf probably until Memorial Day at the earliest. Their best position player has battled balky hamstrings since he’s been here. Their spiritual leader won’t have swung a bat and meant it in three years. Their bullpen is a ragtag collection of arms, none reliable enough to be called “closer” at this point. On the MLB Network yesterday, writer Anthony Castrovince called the Mets “the most fascinating team in the NL East,” a nod to all the work that faces GM Sandy Alderson and the new on-field coaching and training staff this winter.

Perhaps the odds makers are banking on a complete return to health of those seven potential studs on the hill. Maybe they’re expecting breakouts from Michael Conforto – even in a truncated season – and Yoenis Cespedes. Maybe Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith impressed the locals with their performances for the team’s AAA club. Maybe the bullpen is stronger than we think.

Or maybe, they don’t know a damn thing and are just spitballing to pass the time until the Winter Meetings.

Putting out a prediction at this point in the offseason is truly a fool’s game. Those Winter Meetings – MLB’s annual trade show, swap meet and boozefest – don’t begin for another month. It’s quite possible the makeup of the Mets will look vastly different by the time they’re over. Once all the glad-handing and super-secret negotiations are done, we’ll all have a much clearer picture of what may lie in store in 2018. Color me happy if they come away with one more power hitter, an innings-eating pitcher – boy, those Bartolo Colon jokes just write themselves, don’t they? – and another reliever to bolster the Jerry Blevins/AJ Ramos/Jeurys Familia triumvirate at the front of the bullpen. If that happens, then we’ll have a much better idea if the Mets truly belong in the same conversation as all those big buffaloes in front of them on this preliminary list. We’ll see if they’re eighth-or-better. We’ll see if they’re a playoff team.

A hundred down at 20-to-1? Get back to me in March and I’ll let you know if I make that bet.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

25 comments for “Why are odds makers bullish on the Mets?

  1. Pete from NJ
    November 9, 2017 at 7:37 am

    20-1. What were the preliminary numbers last year?

  2. Metsense
    November 9, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Mets odds were 25-1 in 2015, 10-1 in 2016,and 12-1 in 2017.
    A healthy Syndergaard, deGrom, Cespedes, Conforto and Familia as a core unit may be enough to get to the playoffs and then with the two dominant starters be able to ride them to a world series victory. Unlikely but plausible.

  3. Chris F
    November 9, 2017 at 9:25 am

    World Series talk in November, and we dont even know who’s playing 3B…nothing like odds makers spouting junk just to sound relevant.

    • Jimmy P
      November 9, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Cabrera is your 3B. Did you think they signed him as a sub?

      I see articles about maybe getting the KC guy or Frazier and just shake my head. Sandy “solved” the 3B situation on the cheap.

      Besides, have to leave room for the triumphant return of David Wright.

      • TexasGusCC
        November 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        ^^^

        I keep wondering what those idiots predicting the Mets to sign Todd Frazier are thinking.

        • November 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

          As one of those “idiots” I’m thinking that Cabrera gives the Mets the opportunity to sign either a 2B or 3B.

          • TexasGusCC
            November 9, 2017 at 10:38 pm

            Brian, you declined Cabrera’s option, hence that option isn’t for the team you built, and so you needed another guy at 3B. Alderson hadn’t yet announced his decision.

            Reason why to me it’s obvious that Cabrera is the 3B option was Cabrera spent all of August and September at 3B. Had the Mets entertained the thought of putting him at 2B, they would have done so to see how he plays with Rosario. So that plus his passing grades at 3B defensively seems to be a pretty obvious sign that since they spent the extra $6MM, he will be at 3B.

            • November 9, 2017 at 11:13 pm

              And who do you think will be playing second base Gus?

              • TexasGusCC
                November 10, 2017 at 12:07 am

                Either Gordon or Flores.

                They will sign a starter, a reliever, and a backup outfielder, then will “save money for July”.

            • November 10, 2017 at 1:27 am

              This isn’t about the GM Project.

              When we made our guesses about where the top free agents were going to sign, I had the Mets getting Frazier with the idea they would play Cabrera at 2B, which is where he played 12X in August when Rosario first came up. Once Flores went down on 9/2, Cabrera moved to 3B for the rest of the season because they didn’t want Reyes playing there.

              • TexasGusCC
                November 10, 2017 at 9:52 am

                Ok. I follow. I forgot the free agent article.

                After the World Series, I considered taking time off from baseball for a month or so, but my routines wouldn’t let me. I feel rather burned out on the Mets and their ever-present financial situations, the inflexibility of their roster, and the lack of organizational options in many positions. It feels like in some form or another, it creates the discussion.

                • November 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

                  There’s simply no way to get around the financial situation.

                  But I do think there’s flexibility. Cabrera can play 2B or 3B. They’re willing to play Flores at 1B, 2B and 3B, likewise with TJ Rivera if/when he comes back. Conforto and Nimmo can play anywhere in the OF. Gsellman, Montero and possibly Lugo can start or relieve.

                  The org just promoted potential starting 1B and SS. The Triple-A rotation should have four guys who are at least interesting, if not Thor/JDG quality, there are several relief pitching options.

                  The Mets have half a dozen guys — Thor, JDG, Familia, Conforto, Cespedes, Rosario — who all have to stay healthy and be productive. They can mix and match elsewhere.

                  It’s not a dominant team by any means but one that can be more than competitive if the above stay off the DL and produce like what we think they’re capable of doing. It would be wonderful if the Mets were getting $20 million worth of production out of David Wright. Their payroll would be so much more manageable if not for that contract.

                • November 10, 2017 at 10:33 am

                  Brian I thought the Wilpons had insurance on Wright’s contract? Shouldn’t that factor into their process for what next years payroll might be?

                • November 10, 2017 at 11:17 am

                  I’ve never seen the terms of the insurance spelled out. Among the possibilities is that the insurance covered the first “X” years of the contract but not the final “Y” years. Also it’s possible that the insurance covered one area (back or neck) and not the other or any new injury that comes up.

                  But let’s assume that the insurance is active for the life of the deal. Previously, Wright had to be disabled a certain amount of time (60 days?) before they could begin to recoup anything and even then it was only a percentage (75%?) of what he was owed. And if he played any, the time period would start again.

                  I would imagine it’s hard to plan on having that money available, however likely it may be to us fans that he won’t play again.

          • Jimmy P
            November 10, 2017 at 8:57 pm

            I understand that’s a realistic possibility, especially with this management. Personally, we know that Cabrera is slow and not suited to be a middle infielder. The bat still plays at 3B. Not exceptional, but average. This would allow Mets to improve up the middle defense and speed at 2B.

            If they opt for Flores at 3B, and shift Cabrera to 2B, we’re pretty much fuct. Sandy still might be hoping to play hardball with Reyes, wait him out, and snag him on the cheap. Which would also depress me.

  4. Eraff
    November 9, 2017 at 11:48 am

    The recent Managerial moves were highlighted by the dumping of Joe Girardi…this seems to be a move that reflects the long term reality that baseball “Management” has moved way beyond “The Manager”, even On Field.

    I see articles that emphasize “more pitching to contact”, “the value of Positional Flexibility”, “importance of Bullpens” …on and on…Team Defense, Speed, Defensive Shifting and Strategy— what I struck by is my impression that the Mets have Followed Trends and have not been Thought Leaders as Roster Builders or as On Field Strategists.

    Maybe all of the articles I read are just this season’s “follow the leaders” pieces…. but I believe the Mets are Lacking Baseball Management Talent. Sandy is a Capable Organizational Manager, and The New “Manager” is a Capable guy (we Hope)….but I’m not Confident of the Grade they’re at for the Baseball Guys who would give this team a Player Aquisition or On Field Strategic Edge.

    Management happens off season and it happens Between the Lines in today’s game…. that Management team is the Proverbial 10th Man— I believe the Mets have been at a strong disadvantage.

  5. Barry
    November 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Yes, lots of question marks/holes, etc.

    But maybe this is why the odds makers are so bullish:
    1. Subtracting Terry Collins
    2. Adding Mickey Callaway

  6. November 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    They don’t need another power hitter; they need professional hitters with some speed and lower strikeouts.

  7. November 9, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Meaningless until the Mets and all the other teams finish their off season acquisitions. BTW Moustakas and Hosmer have Scott Boras as their agent. Jimmy Cabrera doesn’t hit for power so I would think he fits the mold more of a second base man.

  8. November 10, 2017 at 12:23 am

    Gordon has 37 million more left on his contract. Somehow I don’t see Alderson taking on that much salary for the next 3 seasons. I would prefer he addressed third base permanently and if Wright is healthy (big if) then Shift DW to first base. I do understand Gordon is only 29 and would fill the need at leading off in case Comforto isn’t ready. We’ll see.

  9. November 10, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I was thinking that if the Wilpons recouped 75% then they could apply that money for a true replacement for DW. Not knowing how many games Wright will play (if any) is really hampering the tight budget the ownership has to play with. If Wright is healthy and the Mets are not in contention they could always dump salary at the trading deadline.

    • November 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      And the other thing to at least consider is that the Wilpons are already factoring in recouping money from Wright’s contract…

      • November 11, 2017 at 4:13 am

        Given the amount of salary they dumped at the trading deadline and beyond you can almost ascertain that the payroll at the end of 2017 is going to be very close to what the team spent on 2016. And since the team didn’t make the playoffs I don’t see an increase for 2018.

  10. Eraff
    November 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    If I could Trade Jake for something like Glyber Torres and Clint Frazier, I would begin a re-load/rebuild.

    Next season is totally reliant on adding a major league starter for 150 plus inning, in addition to the recovery and performance of at least 2 guys not named Thor or Jake—and I’m jumping to the idea that Noah is gonna come back strong.

    With all of that, you have a Teether at SS and a ton of question marks everywhere in the infield…and you’re waiting on Conforto’s return.

    That’s a lot of Needles and very little thread.

  11. November 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

    No thread,no money, no room for error.

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