The Braves have most of their young core players under contract. 1B Freddie Freeman SS Andrelton Simmons, 3B Chris Johnson, RHP Julio Teheran and RHP Craig Kimbrel all signed multi-year contracts in 2014.

It is generally believed that only a handful of players are untouchable, which means this roster will undergo multiple changes before 2013.

BIGGEST NEEDS: The club again lacked a true leadoff hitter in 2014, something it hasn't had since allowing Michael Bourn to leave for free agency and replacing him with B.J. Upton. Atlanta used eight different players in the leadoff spot, with RF Jason Heyward the most effective. But Heyward's bat is better suited for the middle of the order, where he can drive in runs.

The team must also identify their direction at second base. Since the decision to release Dan Uggla in midseason, the team mainly used rookies Tommy La Stella and Phil Gosselin at second. La Stella got off to a hot start, but wound up at .251, and Gosselin hit .265. Neither has power.

There is also a need for a better bench. The Braves were ineffective with their pinch-hitters and had no speed once OF Jordan Schaefer was optioned out.

FREE AGENTS: OF Emilio Bonifacio, OF Ryan Doumit, RHP Gavin Floyd, RHP Aaron Harang, C Gerald Laird, RHP Ervin Santana

Santana has said he would like to come back to Atlanta, but he earned $14.1 million on his one-year deal and the Braves may not want to pay -- or more -- again. Laird was a strong presence in the clubhouse and could return in the backup role he's played for two years. Bonifacio can play all three outfield spots, second base and shortstop and could be a nice piece for the bench.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: RHP Brandon Beachy, RHP Kris Medlen, LHP Mike Minor, INF Ramiro Pena, LHP James Russell, RHP Jordan Walden

Minor was on the verge of arbitration last year when he signed a one-year deal and could go the same route. It is unlikely the Braves will offer a multi-year deal unless Minor shows he can rebound from this year's 6-12 season. The Braves will definitely want to keep Walden, who was 0-2 with a 2.88 in 58 appearances and proved to be an effective set-up man for Kimbrel. Russell didn't get left-handers out with the effectiveness hoped for, but is still expected to have a part in the bullpen makeup.

IN LIMBO: The Braves may try to move C Evan Gattis to an American League team, where he can spend time at designated hitter. Atlanta would like to move OF B.J. Upton, who is still owed $45 million over the next three years, but the club would likely have to eat some of that contract or obtain another club's contractual pariah.

MEDICAL WATCH:

--LHP Jonny Venters (Tommy John surgery in September 2014) underwent a third elbow reconstruction. He is not expected to return in 2015.

--RHP Kris Medlen (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) underwent a second elbow reconstruction. He could be able to return by June.

--RHP Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) underwent a second elbow reconstruction. He could be able to return by June.

--RHP Cory Gearrin (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) could be able to return by July.

--RHP Shae Simmons (right shoulder strain) is expected to be OK for spring training.