MLB playoff rankings: Eight best World Series bets


1. Astros
What they did: Acquired starter Zack Greinke from the Arizona Diamondbacks for three top prospects; acquired catcher Martin Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Tony Kemp; acquired reliever Joe Biagini and starter Aaron Sanchez from the Toronto Blue Jays for outfielder Derek Fisher.

What they didn’t do: Not much. They may wonder if Biagini is enough for a bullpen currently missing injured righty Ryan Pressly. But in adding Greinke, a former Cy Young winner and durable starter still carrying a 0.94 WHIP, it’s tough to gripe about fringe moves not made.

Why they could win it all: Justin Verlander. Gerrit Cole. Greinke. You think the deepest lineup in baseball – now fully healthy – can hit enough to support those guys? The Astros were already the most complete team in baseball. Adding Greinke just tilted the field and gave them the pitchers with the top three WHIPs in baseball.

Why they could come up short: If Verlander, 36, and Greinke, 35, somehow feel their age come October. The bullpen is possibly vulnerable, but adding Maldonado and Greinke just significantly upgraded their run prevention in this year of the rabbit ball.

Consensus: What a week – the Astros added Greinke and seized the AL’s best record, while potential wild-card survivor Cleveland dealt Trevor Bauer and the Yankees did not enhance their shaky pitching. Not saying the road to the pennant just opened up, but…

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