Toronto falls just short of goal in memorable ’16

TORONTO — The Blue Jays might have fallen short in their quest for the World Series, but the 2016 regular season will still go down as one of the best years the franchise has seen.

Toronto arrived at Spring Training with expectations of making the postseason. Anything less would have been a major disappointment, especially for a team with 10 players eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

The Blue Jays snapped a 22-year postseason drought in 2015, but that run didn’t begin until the end of July. It seemed to be over almost as soon as it began, leaving Toronto fans wanting more. Enter ’16, which turned out to be a year-long odyssey.

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

Despite the talent and expectations, nothing seemed to come easy for this team. The Blue Jays were in first place for weeks at a time, yet they nearly fell apart at the end of the year, only to rally at the last possible minute. It might have been frustrating to watch at times, but it also set the stage for some historic drama.

Here’s a look back at five of the biggest storylines from Toronto’s 2016 season:

The September swoon The Blue Jays opened September with a two-game lead in the American League East. The postseason seemed like a foregone conclusion, and most of the talk surrounded setting the rotation for an eventual best-of-five series. But that changed as the offense went missing down the stretch.

Toronto entered its final regular-season series needing to take at least two of three on the road at …

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