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MLB Trade Deadline Update

It’s late July and MLB betting sharps know what that means. This week marks a crucial turning point for the contenders’ World Series odds. The teams who gear up could see a significant jump; the teams left empty-handed could go from contenders to dogs in a hurry.

First, let’s look at how the most recent moves affect the odds.

Angels acquire Dan Haren from Diamondbacks

Texas took a stranglehold on the American League West when it acquired Cliff Lee earlier this month. But the Rangers’ top rivals responded in a big way by snagging a pitcher of their own – righty Dan Haren – from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. Los Angeles sent pitchers Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, and Rafael Rodriguez (plus a player to be named) to the desert in exchange for Haren. Though his 4.60 ERA this season is extremely high by his usually lofty standards, Haren was still leading the NL with 141 strikeouts before the deal. He’s a massive addition to a rotation that already had plenty of firepower with Jered Weaver. The Angels’ odds will definitely spike after the deal – especially since they gave up so little.

Braves acquire Alex Gonzalez from Blue Jays

Though the Atlanta Braves also got some prospects in the deal, many pundits and bettors weren’t sure if Alex Gonzalez as a centrepiece was a good enough return for Yunel Escobar, whom they shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays. Escobar was struggling at the dish and reportedly not meshing well in the Braves’ clubhouse – but he was just 27 years old and a .293 career hitter. In Alex Gonzalez, the Braves got a powerful 2010 batting line (.269, 17 home runs, 52 RBI) but also a 33-year-old with a .249 lifetime average who may simply be having a career year. Gonzalez is batting .361 through nine games as a Brave – but Escobar is hitting .400 since joining the Jays. In other words, bettors shouldn’t necessarily assume the Braves’ World Series odds got better because they acquired Gonzalez.

Now, let’s look at the next few names most likely to be moved: Jose Bautista Like Alex Gonzalez, Jose Bautista is a journeyman infielder with poor plate discipline who finally put it together this season. He leads the majors in homers and has plenty of suitors – most notably the power-starved San Francisco Giants.

Roy Oswalt The longtime Astros ace is arguably the most likely player to be dealt this week. Oswalt made it publicly clear that he wanted a trade to a contender earlier this season. Now, contenders are lining up for his services. The St. Louis Cardinals are chasing him harder than any other team and have an attractive piece to offer in top pitching prospect Shelby Miller. But another wild card to land Oswalt would be the Philadelphia Phillies. Speaking of which . . . Jayson Werth Werth is the piece the Phillies would want to move in exchange for Oswalt. Who knows what Werth did to fall out of favor with Charlie Manuel? Whatever the reason, the Phils appear desperate to unload their slugging outfielder.

Corey Hart The Tampa Bay Rays were reportedly pursuing Corey Hart aggressively – presumably in exchange for a young arm like Wade Davis. But Hart is now day-to-day after injuring his wrist when he slid into a concrete wall attempting a catch on Friday night.