After looking at which players not on a 40-man roster have been invited to spring training in the AL East, AL Central and AL West, it's time to move to the National League. Only a few of these guys will crack Opening Day rosters, but many will end up playing important roles at some point once the injuries start to pile up.
Considering that the Braves are in a state of transition, you might expect to see some interesting names here ... and you'd be right. Wandy Rodriguez made just six starts last year because of a knee injury -- and just 12 in 2013 thanks to some arm problems -- but his ERA was under 3.80 every season from 2008 through 2013. ... The Braves' outfield is kind of a mess, so Eric Young Jr., who led the NL in steals in 2013, has a chance to stick. ... Kelly Johnson is back where he started. He could win a backup job in the infield. ... Sugar Ray Marimon has to be singled out just for his name. He's a right-handed pitcher and that's his given name, not a nickname. ... Eric Stults hopes to be this year's Aaron Harang. ... Jose Veras moves on to his ninth team, always pitching just well enough to get a job somewhere. ... Chien-Ming Wang once won 19 games in back-to-back seasons with the Yankees, but that was a long time ago. ... Bet you didn't know Matt Capps was the winning pitcher in the 2010 All-Star Game. ... John Buck isn't on the 40-man roster, but A.J. Pierzynski is. At this point, you don't really want either guy to play too much.
Reed Johnson is back after 201 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. But considering his .266 OBP, his days as a right-handed pinch hitter/backup outfielder may have expired. ... Outfielder Tyler Colvin has had spurts of production, but didn't hit last year with either the Giants or Triple-A Fresno. ... Scott Sizemore has seen his career ruined by knee injuries. ... Wait, the Tigers let Don Kelly get away? ... Jordany Valdespin split time between the Marlins and Triple-A last year and will probably do the same this year. ... Vin Mazzaro had a decent season in relief for the Pirates in 2013 but spent most of 2014 in Triple-A.
New York Mets
Not only did the Mets do very little this offseason after they signed Michael Cuddyer, they didn't even seem interested in bringing in non-roster guys. I guess they believe they already have enough depth on their 40-man roster and in the upper minors to not worry about bringing in some of those 4-A players. Scott Rice is left-handed and has made 105 appearances for the Mets over the past two seasons. ... Buddy Carlyle had a 1.45 ERA in 31 innings with the Mets, along with an impressive 28-5 strikeout-walk ratio. He was nonetheless booted off the 40-man roster after the season. ... Infielder Matt Reynolds hit .355 at Double-A and .333 at Triple-A. He's played shortstop and second but profiles best at second. There's not a ton of power here -- and everybody hits at Las Vegas -- but Reynolds looks like he could make the club as a utility guy or an early call-up and maybe even get some time at shortstop if Wilmer Flores struggles. ... Catcher Kevin Plawecki reached Triple-A in 2014 and will likely make his debut at some point and then push Travis d'Arnaud for a starting job in 2016.
Jeff Francoeur wasn't even that good when he was good. ... Kevin Slowey spent time with the Marlins the past two seasons, and while he rarely walks anyone he got hit pretty hard. ... Former pitcher-turned-outfielder Brian Bogusevic was last in the majors in 2013. ... Infielder Chris Nelson has spent parts of the past five seasons in the majors but hasn't hit outside of one season in Colorado -- and even then he didn't really do that much, considering it was Colorado. ... Xavier Paul will battle Francoeur and Bogusevic for a potential roster spot. ... Jeanmar Gomez is the best bet to make the team. He had a 3.28 ERA the past two seasons with the Pirates. ... Catcher Koyie Hill has forged a career as a Triple-A insurance policy.
I can't see Dan Uggla actually making the team, but reports in the offseason said that he had played through an undiagnosed concussion in 2014. That doesn't explain the .179 average in 2013 and the defense that makes it difficult to play him no matter what he hits. ... Mike Carp got a World Series ring with the Red Sox in 2013, when he hit .296/.362/.523. But he fell to .175/.289/.230 last year. ... Ian Stewart was once rated the No. 4 prospect in the game, a burden he perhaps has never been able to escape. ... First baseman Kila Ka'aihue has long been a favorite of statheads for his ability to get on base in the minors. He has been in Japan the past two years. ... Second baseman Cutter Dykstra is the son of Lenny and fiancé of "Sopranos" actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler. He hit .274/.349/.391 at Double-A. ... Heath Bell dropped 40 pounds in the offseason in an attempt to better position himself for a bullpen job. Maybe he should have done that in 2013 or 2014, when he was making $9 million per season and pitching poorly. Really, he hasn't been effective since leaving the Padres after 2011, but the Nationals' pen may have an opening if he looks good in camp.