Who is (probably) still here: OF Justin Upton, OF B.J. Upton, 2B Dan Uggla, OF Jason Heyward, SP Kris Medlen, RP Craig Kimbrel, 1B Freddie Freeman, RP Jordan Walden, SP Brandon Beachy, SP Mike Minor, SS Andrelton Simmons, SP Julio Teheran, C Evan Gattis.
Who could be gone: C Brian McCann, SP Tim Hudson, SP Paul Maholm, RP Eric O'Flaherty.
Future with team remains unknown: INF Paul Janish, 3B Chris Johnson, RP Jonny Venters, RP Cristhian Martinez, INF Ramiro Pena, OF Jordan Schafer, 3B Juan Francisco, INF Blake Dewitt, RP David Carpenter, RP Cory Gearrin, RP Luis Avilan, RP Anthony Varvaro, C Gerald Laird, OF Reed Johnson, RP Luis Ayala, IF Tyler Pastornicky, OF Jorge Constanza.
What prospects are possibly in the pipeline: RHP J.R. Graham, C Christian Bethancourt, LHP Alex Wood, LHP Sean Gilmartin.
What the organization might look like in 2015
Pitching staff: By this time two years from now, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy (assuming Beachy recovers from Tommy John surgery and resembles the guy who is 12-10 with a 3.07 ERA in his first 41 career starts) could be the Braves top four starting pitchers. If this was done by design, general manager Frank Wren deserves a pat on the back.
Medlen will be 29 years old in 2015 and will be eligible for free agency after the season; Beachy will be 28 and won't be a free agent until after 2016; Minor, a left-hander, will be 27 and pitching in his first year of arbitration; and Teheran will be 24 and won't be eligible for arbitration until after the season.
Moreover, this projection doesn't even account for Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm, the two veterans in the rotation who will be free agents next year. ESPN.com's Buster Olney thinks if Maholm has a good year (Maholm is currently 5-4 with a 3.83 ERA), then he might price himself out of the Braves' budget, which has been around $90 million for the last couple of years. If Hudson, who has 201 career wins, had it his way, he would pitch a few more years and retire with the Braves.
"Hopefully, I'll play a while longer, and hopefully it's here," Hudson told MLB.com in February. "I think when the day comes when I'm not a Brave or not playing for anybody, it's going to be a sad day around the Hudson house."
In the bullpen, it seems Kimbrel and Walden are the only pitchers safe. That's because a pair of southpaws, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty, underwent Tommy John surgery in the past week. O'Flaherty's operation might turn out better because it's his first whereas Venters had his second Tommy John surgery, which means the chances of a full recovery are considered less promising. Furthermore, since both pitchers are on the shelf for the beginning of next season, the Braves have no reason to re-sign O'Flaherty or tender Venters, salaries they might command if healthy.
Thankfully, bullpen help can be had on the cheap, which is why it's also so volatile.
Thus far, Anthony Varvaro (1-0, 2.16 ERA), Luis Avilan (2-0, 3.06 ERA) and Cory Gearrin (1-0, 0.87 ERA) have filled the void, albeit in less high-pressured situations. This trio won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season.
Everyday lineup: When 2015 begins, the Braves have only three players under contract. They are the Upton brothers and second baseman Dan Uggla. Basically, it's the good (Justin Upton), the bad (B.J. Upton) and the ugly. Ooops, meant to say Uggla.
On the bright side, right fielder Jason Heyward, first baseman Freddie Freeman and shortstop Andrelton Simmons will all turn 25 and still be under team control for at least one more season. Heyward, who has already made an All-Star team and won a Gold Glove, will be a free agent after the season; Freeman, who came in second in the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year voting, will be a free agent after the 2016 season; and Simmons, who some feel will win a Gold Glove some day, is under contract through 2018.
The biggest question marks, besides second base (because of Uggla's hideous decline) and possibly center field (because of B.J. Upton's streakiness) are still third base and catcher.
Currently, Chris Johnson (.342 batting average, three home runs, 13 RBI) and Juan Francisco (.260, five home runs, 16 RBI) are sharing third base, and so far, so good, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But by 2015, it could be an expensive platoon as both players will be eligible for arbitration.
At catcher, the big question is Brian McCann. A free agent after this season, McCann is hitting .282 with four home runs and 12 RBI after coming off the disabled list on May 6 as he recovered from offseason surgery for a torn right labrum. If McCann leaves, Evan Gattis (offense) and Christian Bethancourt (defense) could form a cheap and productive platoon.
“We haven’t made any determination one way or the other — we’ll see how this season plays out,” Wren told Foxsports.com's Ken Rosenthal in March. “Mac has been so good here for so long, we want to be open-minded and see how it can work for both of us.”
2015 NL East finish: Second place; accumulates at least 90 wins and qualifies for playoff as a Wild Card entry.