With 2020 World Series odds already marinating on hot stoves, across various sportsbooks the Yankees emerge as an early MLB pick. The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers join them as the biggest challengers for baseball’s bragging honors.
It’s no secret the New York Yankees are the most successful team in the history of the game, playing in 40 World Series and winning 27 — a run that includes the most championship appearances and most victories.
But are the New York Yankees a worthy an early bet for next season? After all, it’s been over ten years now since the Yankees captured their last World Series title in 2009. That’s a lifetime ago. During this time, others have emerged as champions, and by extension may prove to be smarter bets.
The Yankees had the look of a team about to climb to the zenith and sit lotus atop the MLB when they capped their 2019 campaign on a 103-win regular season. However, the chase for the franchise’s staggering 28th World Series title was put on the backburner rather abruptly when their campaign screeched to a halt in the Championship round with (eventual runners-up) Houston Astros edging the series 4-2.
The loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series hurt. Another case of being so close, yet so far away…
It was the second time in three years and fourth time in ten years that the Yankees whiffed at the World Series. They reached the penultimate round in 2010, the year after their last World Series title. And then they reached the ALCS in 2012 and 2017 before repeating the feat for a fourth time in the last decade this past season.
That’s four opportunities for the storied franchise to gain a shot at title number 28 that have gone begging. Of course, the decade long drought isn’t the longest in the history of the game — that dubious honor goes to the Chicago Cubs, who hadn’t won it since 1908 before ending a 108-year drought in 2016.
A decade compared to a century-and-some-change is a massive difference. It’s incomparable. But for a proud franchise like the New York Yankees with a history of success in the game, it is still a tough pill to swallow.
So, where do the Yankees go from here? One can analyze what went wrong at the final hurdle to the point of exhaustion. Chalk it up to injuries, pitching, hitting, left field shortcomings, general bad luck…a hex…la, la, la…
There’s no sense in crying over spilled beer. Whatever it is, the organization is sure to pinpoint some of the root cause of the problem and address those in the form of significant wholesale changes in the offseason as the quest for number 28 begins in earnest again.
Given that there were issues that were exposed in a challenging campaign, betting the Yankees to turn things around in 2020 is a bit of a stretch despite the attractive short odds currently trading. There’s an argument to be had about the Yankees' odds being heavily impacted by perception rather than actual recent accomplishment.
This doesn’t mean they’re not warranted. The significance of the Yankees and the fact that they’ve been featured in several Championship Series in recent seasons underscores their position amongst the top favorites. And if they do turn things around and finally get the monkey off their backs, few will be totally surprised.
However, one can’t be seduced by the story alone, one that is slowly becoming a quest for the Holy Grail. Perhaps the weight of expectation is their ultimate undoing at the latter stages.
In any event, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers have both enjoyed more successful than the Yankees in recent seasons. The Astros won it all in 2017 and finished as runners-up last season to the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers finished runners-up in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018.
If the value is determined by recent track records of success, then either of the aforementioned tandems is surely a better bet than the New York Yankees are at the moment.
Of course, it is a way yet until the 2020 season gets underway. What the Yankees do in the offseason will go a long way towards giving a sense of what the team’s identity and chances are in 2020. Those that are looking toward the upcoming season, therefore, should pay close attention to the moves the Yankees make and evaluate those in the context of the MLB odds trading across online sportsbooks.