The St. Louis Cardinals represented the National League in the World Series in 2013. They put together the best regular season record in the National League to get there. Since the close of the season, they have improved their roster by making moves by both trade and in free agency.
Along the way, there have been some headlines worth noting. Combined, they form a subscript of the calendar year and help to define the current state of the franchise.
What follows is the top five stories from the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.
No. 5: A World Series Hero Is Traded
The 2011 World Series produced many memorable moments. None of those moments may be more memorable than David Freese's heroics in Game 6.
After fending off elimination for the team with a game-tying triple, Freese would please the hometown crowd with a game-winning home run. A St. Louis native, Freese found himself an instant celebrity and many fans looked to him to become a part of the team's core.
His season in 2012 carried the momentum from the 2011 postseason forward. He played well enough to excite the Cardinals' fans and lead to high expectations. The World Series and hometown hero was in place to become the foundation at third base.
An injury near the end of spring training in 2013 slowed Freese. Worse yet, he never seemed to find his groove again. He finished the year in disappointing fashion and found himself sharing time with Matt Carpenter at third base so that the team could evaluate Kolten Wong at second.
Shortly after the close of the 2013 season, it appeared the team was shopping Freese in an effort to improve the roster without dealing from its young pitching. On November 22, the Cardinals traded Freese and Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for Peter Bourjos and prospect Randal Grichuk.
Just over two years had passed since David Freese hit one of the most memorable home runs in World Series history. The start of the 2014 season will find the one-time hero of the St. Louis Cardinals in a new uniform.
Read more takes on the Top 5 Cardinal Stories of 2013 at United Cardinal Bloggers.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
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