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Vegas says Philadelphia Phillies are favorites to land Bryce Harper, Manny Machado

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
  • Vegas oddsmakers have high hopes for the Philadelphia Phillies next season.
  • Bovada has the Phillies as the favorites to land Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
  • Bovada lists the Phillies at 20/1 odds for winning the 2019 World Series.

Vegas oddsmakers have high hopes for the Philadelphia Phillies next season.

Manny Machado. AP FILE PHOTO

First, per Bovada, the odds of the Phillies’ winning the World Series next season are 20/1, tied for 10th best in the majors with the Washington Nationals.

The Boston Red Sox (13/2) have the best odds, followed by the Houston Astros (7/1), Los Angeles Dodgers (8/1) and New York Yankees (8/1).

Only nine teams ahead of the Phillies? That seems a bit optimistic considering their late-summer freefall.

But it’s not so far-fetched if the Phils make a major offseason addition, and the oddsmakers expect them to do so.

The Phillies have the best odds (1/1) of landing Bryce Harper, followed by the Cubs (3/1), Nationals (4/1), Giants (15/2), Yankees (8/1), Dodgers (17/2), Red Sox (15/1 — can you imagine?), and Angels (15/1 — Trout and Harper, sheesh).

What about Manny Machado? The Phils are atop that list too with 3/2 odds, followed by the Dodgers (9/4), Yankees (3/1), Marlins (8/1), Angels (9/1), Braves and Nationals (each 14/1).

Harper and Machado aren’t the only players Vegas feels the Phils are strong contenders to land.

Their odds of acquiring outfielder A.J. Pollack, 3/2, lead the majors and match the Arizona Diamondbacks’ odds of retaining him. Pollack hit .257 last season with 21 homers and 65 RBIs in 113 games. With 100 strikeouts and only 31 walks, however, he doesn’t appear the best fit given their preference for players with a good eye.

They’re the runner-up to land third baseman Josh Donaldson, tied with the Cleveland Indians at 5/2 and behind the St. Louis Cardinals (6/5). Donaldson hit 33 homers in 2017 but missed much of last season with a calf injury and had just eight in 52 games combined with the Blue Jays and Indians.

Bryce Harper. AP FILE PHOTO

Vegas doesn’t think the Phils will be after only a bat. At 5/1, they’re tied for third in the race for closer Craig Kimbrel, behind the Red Sox (1/1 odds to retain him) and Braves (9/4). Kimbrel had 42 saves and a 2.74 ERA for the world champs.

As for starters, Vegas gives them 13/2 odds of acquiring Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, tied with the Dodgers and Giants and behind the Astros (9/4), Yankees (9/4) and Angels (12/5).

Keuchel, who won the Cy Young in 2015, was 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA last season. He led the majors in starts (34), batters faced (874) and hits allowed (211).