As bad as it gets

Originally Published: January 31, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Opening Day's still nine weeks away, and every general manager's still sitting behind his desk and making phone calls, doing what he can to make his team better. But with the exception of a few stray free agents and a significant trade or two, the rosters today are essentially the rosters we'll see when the season starts.

Lou Piniella
APLou Piniella hasn't been able to stop the bleeding in Tampa Bay.
So it's not too early to start making predictions … which is what I would do today if I weren't doing something else. Namely, I'm picking the 10 teams that did the least to help themselves this winter (so far, of course). Just to be clear, I am not considering any season beyond 2005, nor am I considering the cost/benefit of signing this player or that one. Rather, I'm concerned only with how the additions and subtractions figure to affect the standings this year. Signing a free agent counts, even if he's just re-signing; losing a free agent does not count. Trades count, both ways (coming and going).

In no particular order, then, here are the 10 teams that have done the least to help themselves in 2005:

Gained: Jose Lima, Eli Marrero, Terrence Long, Chris Truby
Lost: Darrell May, Benito Santiago

They didn't lose anything, but then again they haven't gained anything, either. Jose Lima's got a chance to be decent, but the other three will serve as part-timers at best (or worst, depending on your perspective). I don't know if the Royals will lose 104 games again, but they've certainly got a fighting shot at last place.