Which MLB Contenders Helped (Or Hurt) Their Playoff Odds the Most at the Trade Deadline?
Baseball's insane player bazaar is over. Fake Twitter accounts have gone silent. National beat writers are sleeping once again. Some farm systems have been rebuilt, and others, raided.
The Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone, but not before a whirlwind of activity changed the fortunes of some teams aiming to make the postseason, both positively and negatively.
For most "buyers" at the trade deadline, the goal is simple; put enough good players on your roster to help make the playoffs, and the World Series, this season. Given that mandate, which contenders most improved their chances of playing October baseball this year, and which teams' chances took a hit?
Below is a table that features the 15 teams with the best odds of making the postseason. In the first column is their numberFire odds of making the playoffs as of July 24, one week before the deadline. The second column shows their postseason odds heading into Monday's games. Granted, those odds through August 3rd do incorporate three games played after the deadline, so bear that in mind.
Here's how they rank, sorted by the greatest difference in their playoff odds between now and July 24.
|Team||7/24 Playoff Odds||8/3 Playoff Odds||Difference|
|New York Mets||32.3%||59.3%||27%|
|Toronto Blue Jays||43.8%||65.8%||22%|
|New York Yankees||83.5%||89.1%||5.6%|
|San Francisco Giants||57.9%||63%||5.1%|
|Kansas City Royals||95.5%||99%||3.5%|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||92.2%||95%||2.8%|
|St. Louis Cardinals||99.7%||99.6%||-0.1%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||21.5%||17.4%||-4.1%|
|Los Angeles Angels||86.4%||59.4%||-27%|
As you can see, the team that improved itself the most is the New York Mets. One week before the deadline, they had a 32.3% chance of making the playoffs, per our metrics. Today, they have a 59.3% chance (again, taking into account their series against the Washington Nationals that saw them draw even in the NL East race), an increase of 27%. The addition of Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson helped solidify what had been the worst offense in baseball. Lucas Duda's insane power surge and Player of the Week honors certainly didn't hurt, either.
The Toronto Blue Jays were second, boosting their odds 22 points, from 43.8% to 65.8%. They went on an insane shopping spree, adding David Price, who had an outstanding first start with Toronto on Monday. He pitched eight innings while giving up just one run on three hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. I'd say he did what they got him to do. They also upgraded a lineup that was already the best in baseball with the addition of Troy Tulowitzki.
Interestingly, even though they didn't do a whole lot, the Baltimore Orioles saw their playoff odds increase 15.7%, from 18.0% to 33.7%. They did add Gerardo Parra, a fine top-of-the-lineup hitter from the Milwaukee Brewers, but nothing more than that. Much of the increase has to do with their recent play, as they've gone 7-2 since the 24th.
One of the busiest teams at the deadline was the Houston Astros, who were seemingly playing a game of keep-up with the Kansas City Royals and Toronto last week. Houston dealt away a lot of young talent, but got starters Scott Kazmir, and Mike Fiers to strengthen and lengthen their rotation, and Carlos Gomez to add some veteran experience and pop to a young, free-swinging, yet powerful lineup. That's why they went from 79.5% to make the postseason to a virtual lock, 94.9%, up 15.4 points.
One team that didn't increase their odds all that much, despite picking up Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist is the Royals, mainly because they were already at 95.5% to make the playoffs one week before the deadline. Their moves did push that number to 99%, tops in all of baseball.
Of course, there are also the teams that saw their odds get worse. The Los Angeles Angels took the biggest hit, down 27 points, from 86.4% to 59.4% to make the postseason. But it's not like the Angels did nothing. They acquired some outfield depth in Shane Victorino, David Murphy and David DeJesus, all of whom are platoon outfielders and useful pieces.
The Mets' wheeling and dealing increased their playoff odds at the expense of the Washington Nationals, who added Jonathan Papelbon, and hope that the return of Jayson Werth, Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg from the disabled list will act like trade deadline acquisitions. But their playoff odds dove 23.4%, down from 74.4% to 51.0%.
And then there were the Minnesota Twins, who are trying to hang in an American League Wild Card race that just got a whole lot more competitive. Their odds fell 12% from 29% to 17%.
And while the playoffs are important, the trade deadline also affected teams' chances of winning the World Series as well.
|Team||7/24 WS Odds||8/3 WS Odds||Difference|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||20.8%||25%||4.2%|
|Toronto Blue Jays||4.6%||8.4%||3.8%|
|New York Mets||1.8%||4.8%||3%|
|Kansas City Royals||10.3%||12.2%||1.9%|
|San Francisco Giants||5%||5.2%||0.2%|
|New York Yankees||7.1%||6.6%||-0.5%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||1.7%||0.7%||-1%|
|St. Louis Cardinals||12.9%||11.3%||-1.6%|
|Los Angeles Angels||10.7%||3.5%||-7.2%|
Post-deadline, the Dodgers saw their chances of winning the World Series increase the most, despite not adding the impact starter many assumed they would. But they did make a series of moves aimed at improving the depth of their rotation in Mat Latos and Alex Wood, which likely helped increase their odds to win it all from 20.8% to 25.0%, the best among any team in the Majors. The Blue Jays, Astros, Mets and Royals rounded out the top five.
Conversely, the Angels saw their odds to win the World Series drop from 10.7% to 3.5%, a fall of 7.2 points.
Of course, these are just odds. Anything can happen on the field, and none of this is written in stone.
But as of right now, with the goal to make the postseason this year, a number of the teams above went a long way to give themselves the very best chance to do just that.