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Scott Hairston is only one player fighting to fill out the final bench spots on the roster
The Mets have several questions to answer in the next few weeks. One such question is what players will make up the bench? There are a few names that are almost certainties. Among them is Scott Hairston, Mike Nickeas and Justin Turner.
However, that only leaves three remaining spots. Assuming the Mets go with 11 pitchers and 14 fielders, that is. Before we look at the players fighting for those three spots, let's look at the players already assumed to make the team.
Scott Hairston did fairly well off the bench last season. He got into 79 games and hit seven home runs while driving in 24 runs.
Justin Turner played three different positions after competing for a roster spot in spring training last year. He filled in as a starter for both Daniel Murphy and David Wright. He hit four home runs, had 51 RBI and 113 hits in 117 games played.
Mike Nickeas is the better defensive option of the two catchers and will only be used as a backup to Josh Thole, unless they also make him R.A. Dickey's exclusive catcher. He had 10 hits and one home run in 21 games last year.
The rest of the pack is up in the air. It includes Josh Satin, Ronny Cedeno, Reese Havens, Valentino Pascucci, Zach Lutz and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to name a few.
Of these players, Cedeno has the most MLB experience (seven seasons) and can be a middle infielder backup.
Josh Satin had a brief September stint last year and was quickly a fan favorite. His performance was not so celebrated, though. In 15 games, he hit for a .200 AVG and scored three runs, had two RBI and 11 strikeouts in his 25 at-bats.
The remaining candidates will have to fight it out and hope to fill a need for the team in order to make the roster. Of these players, one who has the flexibility to play multiple positions would go farther than the rest, particularly one that can go between the infield and the outfield.
Pascucci is an option there as he's listed as an outfielder but has played both corner-infield spots in the minor leagues. The team is high on Nieuwenhuis but will be eager to see if he has healed from his injuries last season before giving him a real chance on the club.
Either way, the bench will be filled with veterans and youngsters, but no one really stands out as a clear go-to pinch hitter. It is more like a collection of utility guys without defined roles.
There's no Lenny Harris type to come off the bench knowing his only job is to get a pinch hit. There's no Roger Cedeno type to be a pinch runner in a key situation. They will relying mainly on new faces.
That in and of itself is a question mark. How will they gel and how will they complement the starters? As spring training goes on, the bench will become clearer.
With clarity, perhaps there will be some answers.