Braves Roster Report: 11/27

With the release of the 40-Man, we recap the latest moves to the Braves roster. Who's staying, and who could possibly be going via the Rule V draft? Plus - <I><B>Medical Watch, Arbitration Eligible</B></I>, and <B><I>Free Agent Reports</B></I>.

The Braves have added 10 players to their 40-man roster, bringing the total to 37 players. The Braves have 20 pitchers, one catcher, 12 infielders and four outfielders on the 40-man roster.

The Braves purchased the contracts of RHP Bubba Nelson from Triple-A Richmond; RHP Adam Wainwright, RHP Roman Colon, SS Kelly Johnson and 2B Richard Lewis from Double-A Greenville; SS Tony Pena and 1B Scott Thorman from Class A Myrtle Beach and RHP Blaine Boyer, RHP Jose Capellan and OF Onil Joseph from Class A Rome.

These players join the following already on the 40-man roster: pitchers Jung Bong, Paul Byrd, Will Cunnane, Brett Evert, Kevin Gryboski, Mike Hampton, Trey Hodges, Ray King, Jason Marquis, Russ Ortiz, Andy Pratt, Horacio Ramirez, John Smoltz, Chris Waters and Jaret Wright; catcher Johnny Estrada; infielders Wilson Betemit, Mark DeRosa, Rafael Furcal, Jesse Garcia, Marcus Giles, Nick Green, Mike Hessman and Adam LaRoche; and outfielders Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Ryan Langerhans.

ARRIVALS: OF Gary Matthew Jr. by waiver claim. (San Diego Padres)

DEPARTURES: C Henry Blanco (dropped from roster), RHP Shane Reynolds (team option declined), 1B Robert Fick (was arbitration eligible but guessed, correctly, that the Braves weren't going to offer it and asked for his release so he could get a jump on finding a new situation). Fick passed though unconditional waivers Friday (Nov. 14). He continues to work out with Braves strength and conditioning coach Frank Fultz in Atlanta.

BIGGEST NEEDS: A good defensive catcher who can hit (that's not asking too much, is it?) to back up expected starter Johnny Estrada. And, possibly, one more veteran starting pitcher, in the event young guns LHP Horacio Ramirez, RHP Trey Hodges, LHP Jung Bong and RHP Jason Marquis can't hang with LHP Mike Hampton and RHP Russ Ortiz.

FREE AGENTS: OF Darren Bragg, 3B Vinny Castilla, RHP Will Cunnane, 1B Julio Franco, 1B/OF Matt Franco, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Darren Holmes, C Javy Lopez, RHP Greg Maddux, LHP Kent Mercker, RF Gary Sheffield, RHP Jaret Wright.

Of these, Sheffield will require the most money and is, therefore, the priority. But Wright and Cunnane are really the more critical need. Led by Sheffield, the Braves bashed their way through the regular season, then couldn't handle playoff-caliber pitching. Conversely, Wright and Cunnane were tough at season's end.

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE: INF Mark DeRosa, SS Rafael Furcal, LHP Ray King.

IN LIMBO: None, given the size of the Braves' free agent list.

MEDICAL WATCH: RHP Paul Byrd (Tommy John surgery), Darren Holmes (torn right rotator cuff), RHP John Smoltz (minor surgery, right elbow).

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