Pittsburgh Pirates: National League Central’s Early Odds Of Going To World Series


For the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings are behind us and the fun of PiratesFest 2014 is a happy memory. In the meantime, the elves in Las Vegas have been assembling the odds this month on who might get to the 2015 World Series.

So, let’s take look at how the National League Central Division shakes out according to the Bovada Online Sportsbook over another cup of eggnog. It’s never too early for a little diamond talk.

NLCD Odds Breakdown:

Chicago Cubs: 12/1 – The additions of pitchers Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and C.J. Motte, catcher Miguel Montero along with Joe Maddon now in charge in the dugout has boosted the Cubs stock along the Vegas Strip.

St. Louis Cardinals: 14/1 – The Cards did come to an agreement with first baseman Mark Reynolds on a new deal. Their top prospect Breyvic Valera is playing well in Venezuela winter ball after a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League.

Pittsburgh Pirates: 33/1 – A.J. Burnett is back on the mound, and Francisco Liriano is going to stay in addition to new hurlers Antonio Bastardo and Radhames Liz. Couple that with Francisco Cervelli behind the plate and Sean Rodriguez roaming the infield – what is not to like?

Cincinnati Reds: 40/1 – Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs reports on FOX Sports that he likes the deals that sent pitcher Alfredo Simon to the Detroit Tigers for shortstop Eugenio Suarez and the swap of pitcher Mat Latos for right-hander Anthony DeSclafani from the Miami Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers: 40/1 – Zach Links on mlbtraderumors.com reports that the Brew Crew is interested, as are the Marlins, in Red Sox first baseman Allen Craig. They are pleased with the progress of their top prospect, outfielder Tyrone Taylor in the Arizona Fall League.

Burgh Ball Notes: Back in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s, you could make a case that the Pittsburgh Pirates under manager Jim Leyland had a dream outfield with Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla.

More from Andrew McCutchen

Bucs’ fans and skipper Clint Hurdle, I am sure, would put up the speed and ability of the trio of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco against any outfield past or present.

Meanwhile, free-agent first baseman Michael Morse signed a two-year contract with the Miami Marlins on Monday, so the trade interest in Pedro Alvarez can go on the back burner for now. IF, general manager Neal Huntington does move Alvarez before spring training, does that open the door for Andrew Lambo to take over at first base?

Second baseman Neil Walker is under contract for 2015 and 2016 via arbitration and he is due a raise to over $8 million this season. He earned $5,750 million in 2014. IF, Walker and the Bucs do reach a contract extension in the near future, what does that mean for newly acquired infielder Sean Rodriguez? Can the Jolly Roger crew afford to keep him as a utility player or would he be the next to be moved?

One thing to keep in mind is that the Pirates have made the playoffs the past two seasons, and the offseason still has lots of time left on the calendar. There could be more player movement in the weeks to come. I think we will see these teams move up and down the board as the odds change before Opening Day.