With the acquisitions of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, the Chicago Cubs have already improved their roster dramatically this offseason, and the changes have oddsmakers taking notice.
According to Bovada, the Cubs are now the co-favorites to win the World Series in 2016, checking in at 6-to-1 odds to end a championship drought that will enter its 108th year next season.
The San Francisco Giants, who have won each of the last three World Series contested in even-numbered years, are the other co-favorite for the title, acquiring pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto to bolster a rotation that already features playoff hero Madison Bumgarner.
The Cubs came achingly close to getting back to the World Series in 2015, dispatching the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals before being swept by the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series. Spurred on by that defeat, the team has undergone some changes, including the signings of Heyward and Zobrist and a trade that sent Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees.
The Cubs aren’t done yet either, as the team will likely be on the lookout for another outfielder and potentially another starting pitcher, but even as constructed, they are still considered one of the best teams in all of baseball.
The Boston Red Sox (who acquired David Price in one of the offseason’s biggest signings), the Mets, and the defending champion Kansas City Royals round out the top five teams in the eyes of oddsmakers.