In rebuilding year, Brewers make strides

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers entered 2016 clear-eyed about their expectations. As new general manager David Stearns said again and again, the primary goal was not contending for the postseason, but to acquire, develop and retain as much young talent as possible in an effort to get back there someday.

While that project continued, the Brewers went 73-89 in Craig Counsell’s first full season as manager, a five-game improvement from the year before fueled by Ryan Braun’s healthy resurgence and breakthroughs for a number of Stearns’ acquisitions. There was no celebrating a fourth-place finish in the National League Central, but Stearns could point to some progress at the end of the Brewers’ first full year of rebuilding.

2016 Year in Review Final 2016 MLB stats Final 2016 MLB standings Hot Stove Tracker Select a team ¬–AL East ¬BaltimoreBostonNew YorkTampa BayToronto–AL Central ¬ChicagoClevelandDetroitKansas CityMinnesota–AL West ¬HoustonLos AngelesOaklandSeattleTexas–NL East ¬AtlantaMiamiNew YorkPhiladelphiaWashington–NL Central ¬ChicagoCincinnatiMilwaukeePittsburghSt. Louis–NL West ¬ArizonaColoradoLos AngelesSan DiegoSan FranciscoFull coverage ¬–PostseasonAll-Star GameDraftStatcastOpening DayHall of Fame inductionsJackie Robinson DayRoberto Clemente DayFort Bragg GameTrade DeadlineWinter MeetingsAwardsFeats, tributes ¬–Ichiro reaches 3,000 hitsArrieta’s second career no-hitterScherzer strikes out 20Scully retires after legendary careerBig Papi calls it a careerJose Fernandez: 1992-2016Monte Irvin: 1919-2016Ralph Branca: 1926-2016

“We set out at the front of the season looking to develop and build a core of young players that ultimately could lead us back to a consistently competitive team,” Stearns said. “We have had some players emerge this year, and that’s been a promising sign for the organization.

“No one is satisfied with 73 wins. That’s certainly not our end goal. We have a lot of work to do to get to where we ultimately want to be. But we do think this was a productive season for us going forward.”

Here are five key storylines from the year that was:

5. First things first

Three of the best …

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