Dodgers installed as 2018 World Series favorite

Oddsmakers like the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, installing the World Series runner up as the favorite to win it all next season.

The Dodgers are a slight favorite over the Houston Astros, who bring back most of the key pieces of their 2017 title team. The front of the rotation will include Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, who at 30 is again arbitration-eligible. Verlander, 34, is signed through 2020 and scheduled to earn $28 million each of the next two seasons.

The Dodgers face some uncertainty at the front of their rotation. Right-hander Yu Darvish is an unrestricted free agent.

Pitching could be the reason the Chicago Cubs are not one of the favorites next season. Jake Arrieta is a free agent and the rotation is unsettled outside of Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester.

Perennial bridesmaids in Washington, the Nationals are a talented group with a new manager — Dave Martinez — and high pressure to deliver a winner before MVP candidate Bryce Harper reaches the open market.

After a managerial change there could be some doubt about the New York Yankees, who also need to nail down the front of the rotation considering playoff ace Masahiro Tanaka can opt out of his deal this week. Tanaka has double-digit wins each of his first four seasons and made a potent Astros’ offense appear ordinary in the ALCS.

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