New arrivals, veteran farewells mark Cards’ 2016

ST. LOUIS — The ending did not go as scripted, but the Cardinals’ 2016 season nevertheless brought with it a bundle of memorable storylines from a team whose identity took on unexpected forms.

The 2016 Cardinals flexed unforeseen power but also flubbed too often in the field. The up-and-down year included struggles to win at home, historic pinch-hit production, a slew of injuries and a postseason push that fell just short of fruition. It seemed, in many ways, to also be a year of transition, with young players finding their place as core pieces and veterans finding new norms.

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

So with the calendar about to flip ahead to another year, let’s take one last look back at five signature moments from 2016:

5. Dazzling debut: Following weeks of speculation about when he would arrive, Alex Reyes joined the Cardinals in early August and lived up to the hype in his big league debut. Pitching in relief, Reyes, the organization’s top prospect, hit 101 mph, recorded his first career strikeouts and eased through a clean inning on 11 pitches.

“Ever since I played baseball in Little League, this is the kind of moment I’ve dreamed about,” Reyes said afterward. “My heart was pumping, definitely, but I felt kind of relaxed out there.”

Reyes went on to play a key role for the Cardinals down the stretch after being plugged into the rotation. He was never more impressive than at AT&T Park on Sept. 18 when, with seven scoreless innings, Reyes pulled the Cardinals to one game behind the Giants in the National League Wild Card race. …

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