The Orioles' 2018 season earned one last bit of ignominy before a new year begins Tuesday.
According to the data at FiveThirtyEight, the Orioles' 47-115 season that netted them the No. 1 pick in next summer's MLB draft wasn't only the worst in baseball, but the worst in all of sports last year.
The site used its ELO rating system and put it in context of a particular sport, as a good rating in baseball might be middling in the NBA, and found that the Orioles had the worst year of any team in sports.
Four of the worst teams listed this year were baseball teams, which isn't the best reflection on the sport and the competitive imbalance that's developing.
Neither is the fact that the Orioles, the worst of the bunch, actually tried last year. The top of the list also features the tanking Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, and Chicago White Sox. All weren't good by design in 2018.
The Orioles, however, had other designs. A year ago at this time, they were deciding to hold onto pending free agent Manny Machado and laying the groundwork to spend north of $70 million on free agent pitchers Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman.
They ended up trading Machado and four other All-Stars (Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O'Day, and Jonathan Schoop) plus former first-round pick Kevin Gausman in July, remaking their farm system before the previous regime of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter was dismissed in favor of Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde.
That regime hasn't promised the Orioles might not repeat this distinction in 2019, but instead are trying to build something more sustainable so that once this run of losing is over, another doesn't closely follow.