The Houston Astros were baseball's worst team a year ago, going 56-106, but they're not the only team that appears to have little hope of contending this season:
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: They're coming off a sixth straight season with at least 90 losses and play in baseball's toughest division, the AL East, so it's tough to see how the Orioles move up anytime soon. Their most realistic goal is avoiding a losing record for the 15th year in a row.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: This one-time model franchise has one winning record in the last 18 years. The Royals seem to be in perpetual rebuilding mode, and this year should be no different with one of baseball's youngest lineups.
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: They traded away much of their roster after going 74-88 and seem to be playing for several seasons down the road, when the team hopes to move into a new ballpark in nearby San Jose. But they've been trying for years to find a replacement for aging Oakland Coliseum, so don't hold your breath.
NEW YORK METS: The Mets have gone from one of baseballs' biggest-spending teams to a financial mess in the wake of the Bernard Madoff scandal. With the payroll slashed below $100 million, New York seems to have given up on the idea of contending in the short term.
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: Nineteen straight losing seasons earn the Pirates an automatic spot on this list, even though they showed signs of improvement last season. Pittsburgh actually led the NL Central in late July before collapsing down the stretch. Still, it's hard to be optimistic with one of baseball's weakest lineups and such a recent tradition of defeat.
CHICAGO CUBS: It's the Cubs. 'Nuff said.
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