National League Contenders Trying To Beat Philadelphia Phillies

Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is coming up on Sunday, and a couple National League contenders have already struck deals in an effort to make the playoffs and knock off the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies. The American League East may have two of the top three favorites to win the World Series in the Boston Red Sox (3/1 odds) and New York Yankees (5/1), but the NL East’s Phillies are the 5/2 top choice and would have home-field advantage if they advance past the NLCS due to the NL’s 5-1 win in this year’s All-Star Game.

Outfielder Carlos Beltran is headed to San Francisco to help the Giants try to repeat.

On Wednesday, the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants (10/1) agreed to acquire switch-hitting slugger Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets (200/1) while the St. Louis Cardinals (20/1) sent outfielder Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays (300/1) in a three-way deal that netted starting pitcher Edwin Jackson from the Chicago White Sox (30/1).  You can tell from those MLB odds who the contenders are and which teams are playing for the future.

The Giants already have the pitching to beat Philly and proved that last year in their NLCS victory. But they were severely lacking offensive pop and could definitely use Beltran’s services. It should help that Beltran is very familiar with the Phillies since he played for one of their top rivals in the Mets.

San Francisco does not have a comfortable lead in the NL West yet, but the team has a lot of potential to go on a similar run like last year. The Giants are playing like they’ve been there – like defending champions – even though they did not even make the playoffs a year ago until they beat the San Diego Padres in the final game of the regular season.

The Cardinals may have risked a bit more in trading away one of their promising young players in Rasmus, who did not get along with manager Tony LaRussa. Picking up a journeyman in Jackson could end up being a mistake in St. Louis, especially since he will pitching on his fourth different team in four season.

A four-team race between the Cards, Milwaukee Brewers (15/1), Cincinnati Reds (30/1) and surprising Pittsburgh Pirates (60/1) could go down to the wire. In worked in favor of San Francisco last year, but none of those NL Central teams have the same caliber of pitching.

Philadelphia’s signing of Cliff Lee in the offseason has been the best acquisition of any team so far, and it’s highly unlikely that will change over the next week. However, the Giants at least went out and made a big move to help fill the void left in the lineup when Buster Posey was injured in a horrific collision at home plate two months ago.

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