Depending on your favorite Major League Baseball team's outlook for the 2023 season, the fast-approaching start of spring training might have you thinking either "Oh boy!" or "Oh no..."

But just how hopeless is it for the clubs pertaining to the latter?

We've sought to calibrate the hope meter for the tanking and rebuilding teams—of which we count 10, though the list is certainly disputable—in MLB as the start of the '23 campaign draws near. This meant viewing them through glass-half-empty and glass-half-full perspectives, with as much weight given to the latter as possible.

We put the hope meter on a scale of one to five. The low end is meant to signify that fans are likely in for a toxic stew of unwatchability and despair, whereas the high end denotes something like the Baltimore Orioles' 2022 season: a fun, borderline Cinderella story.

We'll start with some honorable mentions, and then tackle the 10 teams that made the cut in descending order of their records from last season.


Honorable Mentions

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles lost more games than any other team between 2018 and 2021. And while they did improve to 83-79 in 2022, their modest $23 million investment in free agency isn't exactly conducive to them taking the next step in a loaded American League East.

And yet, the O's nonetheless do seem to have turned the corner from rebuilder to contender. They can at least chase a wild-card spot in 2023, especially if Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson make good on their eye-popping projections.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs chartered a whole new course in 2021 when they traded away what was left of the core of their 2016 World Series winner, thus setting the stage for 91 losses that year and 88 last season.

However, you have to hand it to the Cubs for spending over $420 million in free agency over the last two winters. And also for going 39-31 in the second half of 2022. Given the general weakness of the National League Central, they're not to be underestimated.

Los Angeles Angels

Though the Angels are riding a streak of seven straight losing seasons, they haven't so much been rebuilding as trying and failing to contend. That's life when you lack depth around your superstars, even ones as good as Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

As such, general manager Perry Minasian has had the right idea in focusing his efforts on depth pieces throughout the winter. The result is a team that actually looks decent on paper and that may well finally contend if the stars align just right.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers have generally enjoyed a miserable existence since their last playoff berth in 2016, racking up 497 losses against just 373 wins. Jon Daniels finally paid the price when the team removed him from his post as GM last August.

Similar to the Cubs, however, the Rangers haven't been acting like a rebuilder of late. They've spent nearly $825 million in free agency over the last two years, including $244 million this winter on three new hurlers for what looks like a playoff-caliber rotation.