The 2023 Major League Baseball season will start in seven days, so it's time for me to pull out my crystal ball to forecast the World Series Champion seven-and-a-half months from now. After cashing the Houston Astros at 10-1 odds in 2017, the Washington Nationals at 18-1 odds in 2019, and the Los Angeles Dodgers at 4-1 odds in 2020, I misfired the last two seasons with the Twins at 22-1 odds in 2021, and the Blue Jays at 9-1 odds last year. This season, I'm going to go with a franchise which has never hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy - the San Diego Padres. The current, best odds are 10-1, at both FanDuel and Caesars.
After years of dominating the NL West, it appears the Dodgers may be taking a breather. For the first time in a while, Los Angeles saved its free agent money and let the likes of Trea Turner, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger go elsewhere (not to mention Max Scherzer, who it let walk a year ago). The respite may be no longer than one season however, as rumors have surfaced that the Dodgers are saving up to make a play for Shohei Ohtani, who will be a free agent after this season (and could sign the largest contract in sports history as a result).
Enter the Padres, who appear to be perfectly positioned to take advantage of this "Dodger dip." San Diego has assembled a killer lineup which consists of multiple All-Stars, including Juan Soto, Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado (who just signed a new contract which will keep him in mustard and brown for the next 11 years). And superstar infielder Fernando Tatis, Jr. is eligible to return from his suspension on April 20. There may be teams in the league with better pitching (Mets, Braves, etc.). But what the Padres lack with their top three of Darvish, Musgrove and Snell will be more than made up by an offensive line-up which could easily produce a franchise-record number of runs.
There appears to be no threat in their division outside of the down-graded Dodgers, so the Padres could have a big lead in the NL West heading into September which could allow them to ration their pitching resources down the stretch. Take the San Diego Padres at 10-1 odds to win the 2023 World Series.
As always, good luck,