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November 20, 2017

The O’s have replaced the Giants as the archetype for #EvenYear superstition, alternating playoff berths in 2012, 2014, and 2016 with progressively uglier letdowns during the seasons in between. There are multiple reasons to doubt the every-other-year streak continuing, though.

For one thing, Baltimore’s expected win-loss record (determined by runs scored vs. runs allowed) was actually three games worse than the team’s actual 75-87, last-place flop. For another, this is a team that’s light on elite talent outside of Manny Machado (and maaaaybe 2017 breakout Jonathan Schoop), yet still paid at a top-10 level. Chris Davis’ $161 million in particular looks like a major problem after a flaccid .215/.309/.432 showing in his age-31 season; he only has five more years at $23 million a pop left on his albatross of a deal. The bigger problem is that, despite flashes of potential from Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, the Orioles haven’t developed an elite starting pitcher since Mike Mussina...and don’t seem to know what they have on the rare occasion when a top arm sits in their midst.

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