Betting Odds Favor Cubs to Land Darvish and Lynn, Miss Out on Otani and Davis

Hey, are you tired of all these posts examining the different predictions of where various free agents will end up? Awesome, neither am I! I really do love this stuff, whether it’s for the occasional “WTF” moments where all you can do is wonder why someone decided to make their picks at 4:20 or because some of them really do offer a glimpse into both player and team strategy.

We’ve already gone through predictions from MLB Trade Rumors, MLB.com, and MLB Network Radio, but today’s exercise is a little different. A lot different, actually, since we’re going to be checking out the odds posted on Sports Betting Dime.

While the others simply picked a landing spot, perhaps with salaries or a list of other teams in the hunt, this set places odds on the top four or five teams in line for the given player’s services. You can and should take these with a grain of salt, but there’s a reason massive casino resorts keep popping up all over the place.

Now, prop odds on free agent destinations are perhaps a little trickier than setting a line on NFL games, but bookmakers are possessed of a wealth of information from many sources and angles. So without further ado, let’s take a look at where these fellas may end up. Join me on the other side for more detailed info.

Shohei Otani

  • Seattle Mariners: 5/2
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: 7/2
  • Chicago Cubs: 6/1
  • Los Angeles Angels: 8/1
  • New York Yankees: 10/1
  • Field: 6/1

The subject of much intrigue over the past couple years, Otani isn’t even a sure bet to come to MLB in 2018. Assuming he does head stateside, what’s really interesting about these odds is not just that the Cubs are viewed so favorably, but that the Yankees are so far down. In the MLNR predictions, for instance, 11 of 15 experts had the two-way stud going to New York.

Seattle was Ichiro’s home when he first came to MLB, so there’s a precedent in that regard, and the Mariners are listed elsewhere as favorites to land the other Japanese pitcher on this list. Even so, I’m surprised to see them with such good odds here.

Yu Darvish

  • Cubs: 3/2
  • Blue Jays: 4/1
  • Phillies: 10/1
  • Cardinals: 15/1
  • Dodgers: 30/1
  • Field: 7/2

Dude, I’m not sure what it is about everyone thinking the Cubs are getting Darvish, but I really hope they’re wrong. MLBTR had the pitcher landing a six-year, $160 million pact from the Cubs, and I fear the actual total will be much higher. Masahiro Tanaka and Johnny Cueto both chose to remain under contract with their respective teams, leaving only Darvish and Arrieta as ace-caliber free agent starters.

Given all the other things they’d like to accomplish in 2018 and beyond, I don’t see how having a second pitcher on the wrong side of 30 making big money is a good idea for the Cubs. And this would be a guy who turns 32 in August and has already had Tommy John, so not exactly the most solid risk profile.

Kind of an interesting cast of characters on this one, all things considered.

Jake Arrieta

  • Rangers: 3/2
  • Nationals: 4/1
  • Brewers: 5/1
  • Cubs: 12/1
  • Field: 17/3

A couple things jump out at me right away here, the first of which is that neither the Dodgers nor the Cardinals are listed. Both have long been viewed as potential suitors, so even if you lump them together with the field, that seems like light odds.

And the Nats? Are they going to be able to pay Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Arrieta? Not if they want to retain Bryce Harper, or really anyone else. MLBTR seems to think Arrieta’s getting only four years and $100 million, which seems awfully light. They also predicted it’d come from the Brewers, who sit pretty close to the top here.

The Rangers have been favored by several sites and individuals and would keep Arrieta relatively close to his offseason home, something that I’d imagine will be more important to him as his young boys get older and start going to school and whatnot.

Wade Davis

  • Astros: 2/1
  • Cardinals: 7/2
  • Twins: 6/1
  • Cubs: 10/1
  • Braves: 15/1
  • Field: 6/1

Anyone wanna guess what I find odd here? You got it, the Cubs have far longer odds than expected. I’d have thought they’d be the prohibitive favorites, not 10/1 longshots. There’s a lot at play here, but the primary factor is the lack of trustworthy in-house options and an understanding that you can’t trade for an elite closer every season.

The Astros and Cardinals have been thrown out there by lots of other sources, so seeing them up near the top is no surprise at all.

Lance Lynn

  • Cubs: 8/1
  • Rangers: 9/1
  • Brewers: 11/1
  • Orioles: 12/1
  • Cardinals: 15/1
  • Field: 3/4

I dig it, and not just because Lynn is from my new hometown. He’s not elite by any stretch, but that’s not what the Cubs would need him to be. Pairing Lynn with someone like Alex Cobb would give them a very sturdy bottom of the rotation and shouldn’t cost a ton of money.

What I find interesting here is that even the best odds to land Lynn are the longest among the favorites for any of the other pitchers listed. That speaks to his status as that mid-tier guy who a lot of teams both like and can afford. Same for Cobb, who wasn’t among the pitchers named in the piece in question.

The only problem with that is the fact that both Lynn and Cobb received qualifying offers from their respective teams, which means the Cubs would forfeit draft picks and bonus pool money to sign them. But they’ll get at least one pick back from Arrieta and would get another if Davis signs elsewhere. And they can trade for pool money to mitigate the $500,000 they’d lose.

So there you have it, one more angle on the impending melee that is free agency. Be ready for more as I find them, because I really enjoy combing through these things.

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Evan Altman

Evan Altman is the EIC and co-founder of Cubs Insider and has proclaimed himself Central Indiana's foremost Cubs authority. He is a husband, father, homebrewer, and award-winning blogger with entirely too much pop culture knowledge. Evan's greatest accomplishments include scoring 400 points in Magic Johnson's Fast Break, naming all 10 members of the Wu-Tang Clan in under 3.5 seconds, and winning the Meese Literary Award at Hanover College.
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