It’s too bad the DraftKings Sportsbook at Wrigley Field won’t be open in time to lay any prop bets on free agent destinations, because the hot stove is about to crank up now that the World Series is upon us. Aaron Judge is easily the biggest name on the market now that his Yankees have been drummed from the postseason, and he figures to have no shortage of suitors after mashing 62 homers with 11.4 fWAR this season.
According to the folks over at Bookies.com, the Yankees are the favorites to retain the outfielder at +150 odds. After that, it’s the Giants (+300), Dodgers (+550), and Mets (+750). Then they’ve got the Cubs at +1250, which has an implied probability of just 7.4% if you’re interested in such things. I’d put those odds at closer to zero because I don’t believe the Cubs are going to want to spend what it’ll take to get a 31-year-old who could command $350 million or more over the next decade.
I might, however, be interested in laying a bet on the field because I think the Rangers might be a bigger threat than some of the other teams listed here.
What’s more interesting to me than the direct pursuit of Judge is what it might mean for the Cubs’ other plans. The Giants would likely look to move Mike Yastrzemski if they make a huge splash, and having several of these teams focused in one area might make it easier for Jed Hoyer and Co. to pursue different options. To that end, I have a feeling this offseason will move at a faster pace than those we’ve seen lately.
Whatever happens, I would prefer for the Cubs to get aggressive out of the gate with free agents, trade targets, and extensions. Sitting back and waiting for the market to come to them might provide solid value for their intelligent spending, but it isn’t likely to put them in the best position to be competitive right away.