According to OddsShark.com, The Phillies have been given the 11th best odds to win the World Series next season at +2000. They are directly behind the Nationals and Cardinals at +1800 and have better odds than the Rockies (+3500), A’s (+3500), Rays (+5000), Diamondbacks (+6000), and the Mariners (+6000) all of which had better records than the Phillies in 2018.
So why is Vegas so excited about a Phillies team that disappointed us all?
Well, here are some other odds from OddsShark.com.
Opening odds for which team Manny Machado will be on for the first game of the 2019 regular season (@BovadaOfficial):
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) October 29, 2018
Updated odds for what team Bryce Harper will be on for the first game of the 2019 regular season (@BovadaOfficial):
Red Sox +1500
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) October 29, 2018
So Vegas feels that the Phillies are the most likely landing spot for both Machado and Harper AND they have better World Series odds than 2 2018 playoff teams and 3 other teams that had winning records. That isn’t coincidence.
Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are 2 of the biggest stars of this generation. Manny is a 4x All-Star, 2x Gold Glover, and 3x top-10 MVP candidate. Harper is a 6x All-Star, former NL Rookie of the Year, and former NL MVP.
BUT THEIR ANTICS ON THE FIELD!!!!
Ok. Wow. We’re starting this now? Ok…everybody deep breaths…let’s get through this.
Yes. Manny Machado brushed Jesus Aguilar’s ankle. I say brushed because that’s all he did. Was it a great decision? No, it was a bonehead decision, but does that change the fact that he’s one of the best in the game? Absolutely not. You might point out his gestures in game 7 of the NLCS and to that I’ll say, have you ever had 40,000 people booing you all at once and then you silenced them all at once? I’m not sure I would be able to behave myself either.
Bryce Harper may act full of himself sometimes. Should that be a reason for the Phillies not to sign him? Well, that’s a clown question bro. Just because he’s one of the best in the league doesn’t mean he has to act like a rookie still grinding their teeth. He knows he’s good.
As fans, we’re not perfect either. We may think we are, but we’re not. Here’s 2 fairly recent examples things most Phillies fans argued for. The first comes from 2012:
Cole Hamels buried a 93 MPH fastball in the back of Bryce Harper and ADMITTED to doing it on purpose. We argued that it was just “part of the game”. We welcomed that sort of nonsense yet bark at little things Machado and Harper have done or said.
This one was from 2015 and, until recently, I too fought tooth and nail. Now, I’m not too sure about it.
Chase Utley is still one of my favorites all time, but looking at that now infamous slide it doesn’t look great.
Utley had a wide open lane and Ruben Tejada was decently off the bag when he made contact. I’m not gonna say it was dirty, but if Machado did that in 2015 would you say it was dirty?
One of the main criticisms of the modern “New Phillies” is that they don’t have any character. Manny Machado didn’t really have a “character” before becoming a villain this postseason. Bryce Harper has been the “star character” ever since debuting in Washington.
They’re still overrated and not worth that kind of money!
Ok. We’re only down to 1 exclamation point. I can work with that.
Machado has a 7 year slash line of .282/.335/.487. Harper has a .279/.388/.512 over 7 years as well.
On June 20th of 2018 Harper was only hitting .209. The rest of the way he slashed .283/.430/.525. Like the best hitters can, he adjusted and finished strong. He added 40 points to his batting average in the second half of the season. He was also successful in the clutch. With 2 outs and RiSP, Harper slashed and astounding .373/.568/.667. In comparison, this is what the Phillies slashed as a team: .224/.345/.389. Machado hit well too, slashing .298/.394/.526 in the same situation. Either would be a huge add for the Phillies lineup.
Finally, according to Baseball-reference.com, both Machado and Harper have great player comparisons. Through age 20-23 and 25 aged seasons, Machado is most similar to Adrian Beltre. For age 24, he is most comparable to HoFer Ron Santo. Bryce Harper is most comparable to Andruw Jones with other comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. and Justin Upton through their age 25 season.
Players with talent like this only come around once every so often. The Phillies need to strike a deal with at least one of the two. You might not like it at first, but the dividends could be huge.
Mandatory Credit: Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.