During spring training, there are a number of players who are either fighting for a spot in the starting lineup—or just hoping to land a place with a major league team.
The New York Mets have a number of players who will be fighting it out this spring.
A good spring could propel someone into a starting role, while a bad spring may cost someone a spot in the lineup, or it could cost a potential bench player a roster spot.
This year will be an interesting one for the Mets as they are in a bit of a transitional state.
Some youngsters could get their chance in the major leagues this year.
Candidates: Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch
Going into spring training, the closers role belongs to Frank Francisco. It does not mean that things will be that way once Opening Day rolls around.
Francisco had 21 save changes with the Toronto Blue Jays last year and he blew four of them.
This was better than Jon Rauch's performance in Toronto last year when he blew five saves in 16 chances.
Both of these pitchers had rough years in 2011 and they are hoping to get off to a fresh start with the New York Mets.
At least to start the year, Francisco should end up as the team's closer but he may not hold that role all year.
Candidates: Ruben Tejada, Jordany Valdespin and Ronny Cedeno
Ruben Tejada does a lot with his glove, but there are some concerns about if his bat is good enough for him to be an everyday regular.
Jordany Valdespin has the opposite problem. He has a very good bat for a shortstop, but he struggles on defense at that position.
Unless he has a great spring, Ronny Cedeno will likely be the backup to whichever player wins that job.
Tejada should get the job right out of Spring Training, but Valdespin should be right on his heels. Once Valdespin shows that he can handle shortstop on defense, he will likely be called up to the majors.
Candidates: Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta, D.J. Carrasco, Pedro Beato, Josh Stinson, Chris Schwinden, Danny Hererra, Robert Carson and Chuck James
There are a number of players who will be fighting it out for a place in the New York Mets bullpen this spring.
Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch and Ramon Ramirez will all have a spot, and Tim Brydak should be close to being a lock as well.
That means that there will be a number of relievers that will be trying to win one of three spots in the Mets bullpen.
There are young relievers in the mix, as well as players who have a number of years of major league experience.
The players that break camp with the Mets should be Bobby Parnell, Manny Acosta and Danny Hererra.
Candidates: Mike Baxter, Kirk Niewenhuis, Zach Lutz and Josh Satin
While some people might not think that the last spot on the bench is a very important one, that is not actually the case.
The decision over this last place will be one that management carefully considers.
This choice will likely be made by the New York Mets' perceived positional needs going into the season.
If they want an outfielder, then Mike Baxter or Kirk Neiwenhuis will be the choice, but they will go with Zach Lutz or Josh Satin if they want another infielder.
When all is said and done, Captain Kirk should be the Mets choice and Niewenhuis may eventually work his way towards the starting lineup during the course of the season.
Candidates: Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York has quashed the idea that the New York Mets will be bringing in Ivan Rodriguez to compete for the backup catcher position.
The team has faith in Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson.
The winner of this roster spot will likely be the player who the Mets think will provide better offensive production.
Nickeas struggled at the plate during his time with the Mets last season. Johnson has never been able to fulfill the promise that he showed in the minor leagues.
This should be a close battle, but Nickeas will likely eke his way into the position.