New York Mets: A closer look at the spring training non-roster invitees

Tim Tebow, New York Mets. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Tim Tebow, New York Mets. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets have invited an interesting group of non-roster players to spring training in 2019. Some have a chance to make the big team while others are big long shots.

The first words of any baseball season are “pitchers and catchers report.” That’s February 12th in St. Lucie, Florida, for the New York Mets. Four days later position players report. As with any spring training camp, there are several sets of players.

First are the main roster locks. For example, unless some sort of trade or injury happens players such as Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and Amed Rosario will make the team.

The next group is the up and coming prospects from the 40-man roster. These are the young players, from within the organization, that are looking for a chance to impress the coaching staff. You know the guys with high jersey numbers and usually play in the first few spring training games.

Finally, we come to the spring training non-roster invitees. It’s usually a group of re-tread major leaguers who couldn’t find a guaranteed job, or career minor leaguers trying one last time to break through. Anyone of them could be the next Justin Turner.

Turner, the former New York Mets infielder, did not receive a contract offer from the team after hitting .280 in for the Amazings in 2013. The best he could do in the offseason was get a minor league contract with an invitation to Dodgers spring training. Turner made the team and his career took off in Southern California. I asked my colleague Jason Reed at L.A. Sports Hub about Turner’s rags to riches story. This was his glowing response:

"“When you think of a breakout player that went from replacement level to all-star you think of Justin Turner. Turner was a nice bench option for the Mets and it appeared as if he was going to carve out a career of being a decent bat off the bench; nothing special but nothing great. That is until the infamous story where the Dodgers saw Turner at a Cal State Fullerton alumni game, were impressed and sign him to a deal. He started out as a bench option behind Juan Uribe and slowly showed that with the right tweaks in his mechanics and in the right situation he could be an all-star. A lot of these guys have that potential, they are pro ball players after all, and sometimes all you need is to be in the right place at the right time to realize that potential.”"

Here is a look by position group at the non-roster invitees trying to break camp with the Mets.