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How Juan Soto trade affects the Yankees’ World Series odds

New York’s lineup looks a whole lot different coming out of the Winter Meetings.

Juan Soto of the San Diego Padres in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 28, 2023 in Bronx, New York. The Yankees defeated the Padres 10-7. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Yankees have delivered the first real bombshell of this MLB offseason, landing superstar outfielder Juan Soto in a deal with the San Diego Padres. The impact for New York is obvious: Soto is one of the very best hitters in the sport, just entering his prime at age 25, and he just so happens to fit the team’s biggest need as a lefty-hitting outfielder. With Soto (and, to a lesser extent, Alex Verdugo) in tow, the Yankees’ lineup — a group that ranked just 25th in the Majors in runs scored in 2023 — is set to look dramatically different next season.

But what about the team’s odds of winning it all? The 2023 season was a tremendous disappointment for New York, barely cracking .500 at 82-80 and missing the postseason for the first time since 2016. Now, however, with Soto coming to town and Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto seemingly next on Brian Cashman’s offseason wish list, the Yankees figure to be among the most improved teams in the league come 2024. To get a sense of what oddsmakers think of Cashman’s work so far, let’s take a look at the early odds to win the World Series next season, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

2024 World Series odds: Where do the Yankees fall?

Before Thanksgiving, the Yankees had the fifth-shortest World Series odds for 2024 at +1500, behind the Braves (+700), Dodgers (+750), Astros (+900) and Phillies (+1100) and tied with the Orioles. Now, however, New York is in third, tops in the American League and breathing down the necks of Atlanta and L.A. Here’s how things currently look:

Dodgers +700
Braves +700
Yankees +800
Astros +1000
Rangers +1000
Phillies +1100
Orioles +1600
Blue Jays +1600
Rays +1900
Mariners +2000
Mets +2000
Cubs +2500
Red Sox +2500
Padres +2500
Twins +2500
Diamondbacks +3000
Giants +3000
Cardinals +3500
Reds +4000
Brewers +4000
Marlins +5500
Tigers +6000
Guardians +6000
Pirates +6000
Angels +8000
Nationals +9000
White Sox +10000
Royals +15000
Rockies +20000
Athletics +20000

That’s a serious jump, from outer-circle contention to narrow AL favorites over the course of a few weeks. And it’s not hard to see why: Soto and Verdugo lengthen the lineup considerably, and if Yamamoto signs on the dotted line — and if Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes Jr. can get and stay healthy — the rotation has major potential. Plus, the American League is just awfully muddled right now, with the Central a mess, the Rays taking a step back, the Red Sox stuck in limbo and the defending-champion Rangers yet to address their sketchy starting pitching situation.

Still, now isn’t the time to be jumping on the Yankees’ bandwagon, at least not with your wallet. Sure, the early flurry of activity is exciting, and they’re guaranteed to be more competitive than they were last year, but some of 2023’s flaws still remain. Specifically, they’re still very susceptible to injury; Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, Rodon and Cortes Jr. are crucially important players, and none of them have given fans much reason to think they can still healthy for a full season. Maybe Cashman continues adding to address that concern, but right now it’s not hard to envision scenario in which things all fall apart again for New York. Plus, Shohei Ohtani remains available, as do lots of big-name pitchers; you can likely wait a bit and get New York at a lower price as other teams make offseason moves.