The offseason. A strange, beautiful time when the GM for your team can do everything he needs to do to win a championship. The offseason is a dimension with infinite fake-trade proposals and free-agent suggestions, all of them horrible. But maybe, just maybe, your team will take advantage of the opportunity and emerge a better team.
Or maybe the GM for your team can sit around and catch up on some Top Chefs that he DVR'd. For at least five teams, this has been a boring offseason, a completely dull affair that will end without any new faces to put on t-shirts, no new names to put on ballpark giveaways. This is a search for the most boring offseasons to date. The winner last year was the Braves. No contest. They did nothing last year, absolutely nothing.
The winner this year will not be the Braves.
You would think the Rangers have a shot, but they're not close. They've signed A.J. Pierzynski, Lance Berkman, and Joakim Soria. They haven't made the big move, but they've made moves. You would think the Astros might qualify, considering that they're in no place to get too frisky with the offseason deals. But they signed Carlos Pena and traded for Alex White. The Rockies traded Alex White away, and in this competition, that doesn't even come close to standing still.
The White Sox don't qualify for the top-five inactive teams because they signed Jeff Keppinger. Now you're starting to see how dull the winners have to be.
With the help (again) of MLB Depth Charts, here are the most boring teams of the 2012/2013 offseason so far:
5. Baltimore Orioles
C Luis Martinez - Waivers (TEX)
3B Danny Valencia - Trade (BOS)
IF Alexi Casilla - Waivers (MIN)
IF/OF Yamaico Navarro - Trade (PIT)
OF Trayvon Robinson - Trade (SEA)
RHP Jair Jurrjens - Free Agent (ATL)
The addition of Jurrjens threatened their spot, but this is still a dreadfully dull offseason for a team that made the playoffs last year. You've probably heard of some of these names -- Danny Valencia and Alexi Casilla kind of sound familiar -- but it wasn't until Jurrjens that there was anything close to a name-brand player, and the name-brand player in this case is a discolored sweater at the outlet store.
Reminder: Before the 2011 All-Star Game, there was an incredibly angry contingent of Braves fans angry that Roy Halladay was picked to start for the National League over Jurrjens. Time only makes that more like a fine wine, getting better and better.
4. St. Louis Cardinals
SS/2B Jake Lemmerman - Trade (LAD)
IF/OF Ty Wigginton - Free Agent (PHI)
LHP Randy Choate - Free Agent (LAD)
It's not like the Cards are content to trade Skip Schumaker, sign Ty Wigginton and Randy Choate, and call it a day. No, sir.
We've got at least a month of this offseason left, yet! And after Ronny, they can try Roger. After Roger, Andujar. Really, there's no limit to what the Cardinals still can do. But as of now, it's Choate and Wigginton, pray for … uh … bigger things. It's like the Cardinals had a bunch of holes to address, of course, but the closest they came to a whopper of a free-agent deal was with arch-nemesis Marco Scutaro.
3. Milwaukee Brewers
RHP Burke Badenhop - Trade (TB)
RHP Arcenio Leon - Waivers (HOU)
LHP Mike Gonzalez - Free Agent (WAS)
LHP Tom Gorzelanny - Free Agent (WAS)
Did you know there was a Raul Mondesi, Jr. now? Well, there is, and he's on the Rays now in exchange for Burke Badenhop. Considering that a abysmal Brewers bullpen might have cost them a chance at contention last year -- it was that bad -- Badenhop is a pretty solid addition. Mondesi, Jr. is toolsy, but it looks like he's rebelling against his dad's famously patient approach. Gorzelanny was surprisingly effective out of the bullpen last year, too, but the Brewers' offseason begins and ends with three back-of-the-bullpen relievers.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
Just seeing if you're still paying attention. Tom Gorzelanny references usually make readers tune out.
2. San Francisco Giants
OF Andres Torres - Free Agent (NYM)
RHP Sandy Rosario - Waivers (CHC)
This would almost be the winner, except a) the Giants had a lot of excitement and will-they-won't-they over some of the free agents they were trying to keep, like Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, and b) Andres Torres is a fan favorite, an irrationally loved former player. If you want to tack on a c) to that, they've also had a number of semi-interesting minor-league-free-agent signings, like Cole Gillespie, Scott Proctor, and Kensuke Tanaka.
Of course, I can tell you from personal experience that the boring offseason didn't stop the talk-radio callers from suggesting all sorts of ways the Giants could sign Josh Hamilton and/or trade for Mike Trout. So offseason excitement is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
1. San Diego Padres
1B A.J. Kirby-Jones - Trade (OAK)
RHP Wilfredo Boscan - Trade (TEX)
RHP Brandon Kloess - Trade (CWS)
RHP Tyson Ross - Trade (OAK)
LHP Chris Rearick - Trade (TB)
I struggled with this one because of the four separate trades. Can a team making all sorts of minor trades really be the most boring team on the market? My theory is this: yes. It's a rigorously tested, peer-reviewed, scientific theory. I call it the Kirby-Jones-Boscan-Kloess-Ross-Rearick Theory of Offseason Management. If there isn't a single player guaranteed to be on the Opening Day roster from the trades, an offseason like this is eligible for consideration.
The biggest move the Padres made was trading for Tyson Ross, who might compete for the last spot in the rotation (until Andrew Cashner comes back). They have more interesting players than you might expect, and as their last-season surge last season suggests, they might be more interesting this year than you'll give them credit for. But when it comes to the Padres this offseason, they are the most boring team in the land. And, well, if you're going to be known for something, you might as well own the hell out of it.