by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
The general consensus that the Toronto Blue Jays have not done enough to upgrade their starting pitching might work in favour of sustaining their betting value in American League East Division champion futures.
The Blue Jays are listed at +333 on the odds to win the AL East at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The New York Yankees are minus money as the -165 favourite, with second-favorite Toronto just ahead of the defending division and AL champion Tampa Bay Rays (+400). The Boston Red Sox (+2200) and Baltimore Orioles (+7500) fill out the board.
Toronto, of course, has been a buyer over the winter, signing slugging outfielder George Springer and middle infielder Marcus Semien, a one-time AL MVP finalist, to add a veteran presence to their nucleus of shortstop Bo Bichette, corner infielder Vladimir Guerrero and outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, who helped the Blue Jays score the third-most runs in the AL last season.
The lack of starting pitching depth behind ace lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu is a concern, but it also suggests the Blue Jays might have their eyes (and budgeting) on adding closer to the trade deadline in a season when many teams carrying big veteran contracts could be looking to sell to offset revenue losses due to the COVID19 pandemic. At this stage, that isn’t necessarily reflected in casual bettors’ perception of the Blue Jays.
The Yankees have been in the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and boast the AL East’s best starting pitcher, Gerrit Cole. New York’s starting pitching might have both a high ceiling and a low floor, since two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Luis Severino and Jameson Taillon are all trying to come back from injuries and 21-year-old Deivi Garcia might not have consistency to stay in the rotation.
The Rays were dragged in the media for trading ace lefthander Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres not long after coming within a single victory of winning the 2020 World Series. That has caused them to drop on the board at online betting sites, but they will return a strong infield anchored by shortstop Willy Adams, third baseman Yandy Diaz and second baseman Brandon Lowe and a deep bullpen. They might not have the starting pitching, though, as Tyler Glasnow and Ryan Yarbrough have yet to prove durable at the MLB level.
Boston is coming off of a last-place season where it scored the second-most runs in the AL and had the second-worst team earned-run average. While that was in a 60-game season, it is hard to project a turnaround on the pitching mound since lefthander Chris Sale (recovery from Tommy John surgery) will not play at all in 2021.
Baltimore took steps toward competitiveness in 2020, with young hitters Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle showing some promise during a season when power-hitting outfielder Trey Mancini took time off due to colon cancer treatment. But 2021 still shapes up as a development year for the Orioles, who have not finished above .500 since 2016.