Spring is when young players show their tools, and hope to fulfill dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. At the very least, they want to perform well enough for the club to remember them, if or when, injuries occur during the season.
Aside for the top prospects and young players, there are players who were not signed to a Major League deal who will compete for a bench spot, or even a starting role.
Some of these players are veterans with limited success in the past, or veterans that were also former All-Stars and looking for one last shot to compete.
This slide show will identify veterans who are looking to continue their dream of competing in the Major Leagues. For some, it may be their last shot to obtain glory and win a World Series ring.
Let's take a look at these players by position, and see the clubs where they are competing for a spot.
Last Year, Kansas City Royals: .228 BA, 19 HR, 61 RBI
Mike Jacobs is returning to the New York Mets to compete for a bench spot this year. The funny thing is Jacobs may find himself starting, instead of coming off the bench by July.
With a strong spring, or perhaps a Daniel Murphy trade, Jacobs would start and add some needed pop near the bottom of the lineup.
Jacobs will fulfill the pop off the bench, and will add depth to the organization. A trade including Murphy is likely if they want to obtain a starting pitcher, so their is hope for Jacobs. At the very least, he'll push Murphy to be better.
Dallas McPherson, Oakland Athletics
Kevin Millar, Chicago Cubs
Last Year, 2008 Kansas City Royals: .299 BA, 3 HR, 24 RBI
Mark is looking to play for his sixth Major League team in his productive career where he has over 2,000 hits, and a .290 lifetime batting average.
The Indians are in a transition period and need to know if their current young players are the future. Therefore, the only spot available is the utility spot where he is competing against Jason Donald.
Besides battling Donald, his fate with the Indians, is in Andy Marte's hand. With a good spring, Marte may take third base which will impact Jhonny Peralta and Luis Valbuena. Both of these players are higher on the depth chart and in the Indians plans.
Mark will not make the club and will be released. This future manager will be picked up by another club who can use a smart veteran off the bench.
This may be his last chance to win a World Series ring, as the end is near.
Chris Burke, Cincinnati Reds
Ruben Gotay, St. Louis Cardinals
Last Year, Arizona Diamondbacks: .237 BA, 8 HR, 39 RBI
It felt like yesterday when Chad Tracy looked like Mark Grace with pop. From 2005-06, Tracy hit 47 homers and drove in 152 runs.
Since then, Tracy hasn't had more than 273 at bats in a season, and still can't hit lefties (.219 BA). He still remains a killer against righties (.297 BA).
Chad Tracy will be a fine backup to Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez at the corners. He can also find himself getting playing time as the fourth outfielder behind a shaky Kosuke Fukudome.
Expect Tracy to become the next Tony Clark and provide some power off the bench while receiving 250-300 at bats.
Wilson Betemit, Kansas City Royals
Mike Lamb, Florida Marlins
Last Year, NY Yankees/NY Mets: .143 BA, 3 RBI, 49 At Bats
At the age of the 30, Berroa is in logjam to win a utility spot for the Dodgers.
I don't see Berroa winning a spot with the Dodgers. He's competing against Jamey Carroll, Nick Green, and Ronnie Belliard for the utility spot, as well as, youngsters Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Ching-Lung Hu.
Chris Woodward—Seattle Mariners
Last Year, 2008 Detroit Tigers/Florida Marlins: .147 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 116 At Bats
It would be nice to see Jones return "home" and man left field for the Twins, especially with the buzz surrounding the new ballpark. But his career has declined since leaving Minny for Chicago.
Last year, Jones played for the Newark Bears in the Independent League after getting cut by the Cincinnati Reds, and the season before he was very unproductive. Therefore, it will be tough for him to win a spot even with the limited amount of competition (Rene Tosoni and Ben "The Redcoats are Coming" Revere).
Even though Jones has not been productive since '06 with the Cubs, he will make the team out of spring due to sentimental reasons. Jones was a fan favorite.
I don't expect him to be with the team the whole year and probably will see his last days in the majors this year.
Scott Thorman—Kansas City Royals
Marcus Thames—New York Yankees
Austin Kearns—Cleveland Indians
Last Year (Brian Giles), San Diego Padres: .191 BA, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 225 At Bats
Last Year (Garret Anderson), Atlanta Braves: .268 BA, 13 HR, 61 RBI
Giles was off to a terrible start before hitting the DL in July for the remainder of the season due to an arthritic knee.
Prior to the 2009 season, the two-time All-Star was a very productive player who got on base over 36 percent of the time, and scored over 80 times a season.
Giles needs just over 100 hits to reach the 2,000 mark.
Anderson is 15 homers short of 300, and brings a lifetime batting average of .295 to go along with his 2,501 hits.
He just signed a minor league deal this week.
Giles and Anderson are competing with Jason Repko and Reed Johnson for the two backup spots.
Both veterans will be playing baseball this year, but it won't be together in Los Angeles.
I expect the newly signed Anderson to beat out Giles, and don't expect the Dodgers to keep two aging, left-handed veterans.
Corey Patterson, Seattle Mariners
Endy Chavez, Texas Rangers
Joey Gathright, Toronto Blue Jays
Last Year, San Diego Padres/Chicago Cubs: .235 BA, 20 HR, 55 RBI
Jim Edmonds is an intense player who will bring energy and a competitive edge to the Brewers clubhouse.
The former four-time All-Star is 18 homers shy of the 400 mark, which is probably the reason he's returning after missing the 2009 season.
The seven-time Gold Glove winner will win over the Brewer fans with his defense as he did in 2008 with the Cubs.
With a shaky starting center fielder in Carlos Gomez, Edmonds is vital to the club as an emergency backup.
Josh Anderson, Cincinnati Reds
Last Year, 2008 Washington Nationals/Florida Marlins: .243 BA, 15 RBI, 173 At Bats
Paul LoDuca is attempting a comeback with the Rockies as their third-string catcher, and may also provide some depth at first.
With Chris Iannetta and Miquel Olivo ahead of LoDuca on the depth chart, he doesn't expect that many at bats.
Since former catchers have a niche in becoming a coach or even a manager, I expect Paul to follow the footsteps of ex-players turned managers like Mike Scioscia, Bruce Bochy, Bob Brenly, and Bob Melvin.
Vance Wilson, Kansas City Royals
Josh Bard, Seattle Mariners
Toby Hall, Texas Rangers
Last Year, Seattle Mariners: .281 BA, 8 HR, 34 RBI
Sweeney is not new with having a minor league deal. Since his $60 million contract expired after the 2007, Mike had to win a spot with Oakland in '08 and Seattle last year.
Again, the .300 hitter will be competing for a bench spot in Seattle at the age of 36.
Hitting is what Sweeney can do. Unfortunately, his health was always his nemesis.
I expect him to win a bench spot and compete with Griffey Jr for at-bats in the DH spot. With these two former All-Stars receiving most of the DH at-bats, I'm expecting them to combine for some nice numbers.
There are over 150 starting pitchers spots in the major leagues so there's always a need for depth, especially considering the probability of injuries. Most teams like to have six or seven starters to provide depth.
Below are five pitchers who have a chance to make the rotation this spring.
1. Chris Capuano, Milwaukee Brewers
Turning 32 in August, Chris is coming off his second Tommy John surgery which made him miss 2008, and half of 2009. Despite a history of struggling to maintain his health, he will be given a shot this spring.
He is currently slotted seventh on their depth chart.
2. Jeff Weaver, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are set with their top four slots (Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsly, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla) and are leaning towards Eric Stults or James McDonald for the fifth.
3. Rodrigo Lopez, Arizona Diamondbacks
With only only three spots settled with Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and Edwin Jackson, there may be a spot for Rodrigo.
4. Todd Wellemeyer, San Francisco Giants
The former 13-game winner in 2008 is currently sixth on the depth chart. He will start out of the fifth spot if the Giants decide to keep Madison Bumgarner in the minors for more seasoning.
5. Josh Towers, Los Angeles Dodgers
Towers is competing with Weaver for the swingman spot.
Jorge Sosa, Boston Red Sox
Bruce Chen, Kansas City Royals
Mike Maroth, Minnesota Twins
Kei Igawa, New York Yankees
Basically, all of the MLB teams will fill at least one bullpen spot with a non-roster invitee. With relievers being as volatile as the stock market, this logic makes sense because it's a cheap and low risk method to find a productive pitcher.
Below are five relievers looking to win a bullpen spot and become productive again.
1: Mike MacDougal (Florida Marlins)
Mike has 70 career saves (20 saves in '09) and will be the backup to Leo Nunez for the Marlins closer job.
2: Joe Nelson (Boston Red Sox)
There's probably two spots in Boston's bullpen, but there's at least six pitchers vying for those spots. Nelson has tough competition, including Jorge Sosa, Brian Shouse, and Fernando Cabrera.
I feel Nelson is the best of the bunch, expect other teams to grab him if he fails to make the club.
3: Matt Herges (Kansas City Royals)
At the age of 40, Herges is joining his ninth team. He's slated to grab one of the setup spots with Juan Cruz.
4: Guillermo Mota (San Francisco Giants)
Mota is still successful at the age of 36. He's now joining his seventh team and is slotted for sixth-inning duties.
5: Tim Redding (Colorado Rockies)
Redding is competing for the swingman spot.
Will Ohman—Baltimore Orioles
Geoff Geary—Texas Rangers
Gary Majewski—Houston Astros
Scott Proctor—Atlanta Braves