ATLANTA -- While much of the Braves' core remains under contract for next year, their bench players don't have the same assurances. Key members of the bench and bullpen including utility player Eric Hinske, outfielder Reed Johnson, catcher David Ross and right-handers Chad Durbin and Peter Moylan will all be free agents.
Ross, who started and homered in the Braves' 6-3 loss to the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card game Friday, is expected to return.
"Rossy has been a big part of this team for the last three or four years since he's been here," general manager Frank Wren said. "He's been a real valuable guy in a backup role. We hope to have him back."
Should Moylan return, he would be the third-longest tenured Brave. He has been in Atlanta for seven years, trailing only catcher Brian McCann and right-hander Tim Hudson.
After spending this season working his way back to the Major Leagues following shoulder surgery last September, Moylan said he is looking forward to going into the offseason healthy and is hopeful he will be able to return to the Braves.
"I really love the guys here," Moylan said. "I love everything about this team. I'd love the chance to come back here."
For some of the pending free agents, their value goes beyond how they perform on the field, extending to their presence in the clubhouse.
First baseman Freddie Freeman said that with a good, young core of hitters that includes himself, right fielder Jason Heyward and shortstop Andrelton Simmons, having veteran players helps in the clubhouse.
"We've got a lot of the guys coming back. A lot of big clubhouse chemistry guys are up for contract," Freeman said. "Hopefully they bring them back, because we would miss them."
Not long after telling reporters how much he hoped to see Hinske and others return next year, Hinske approached Freeman with a bat to sign. As Freeman wrote a lengthy message to his friend in silver marker on the black barrel, Hinske explained how much he enjoyed his three years in Atlanta.
"They're all my friends," Hinske said. "I was a big part of this clubhouse for three years. Sad to be going, but that's part of the game and business. Just look forward to the next chapter. Wherever I'll be next year or whatever."
McCann, Freeman weighing injury treatment options
ATLANTA -- As the Braves' offseason begins, first baseman Freddie Freeman and catcher Brian McCann are weighing the best course of action to treat their injuries.
McCann expects he will need surgery to repair an injury to his right shoulder that has bothered him throughout the season.
"Everything I've been told indicates I'll need surgery," McCann said.
General manager Frank Wren said McCann will undergo additional tests to determine if surgery is necessary.
"I think we first have to determine if surgery is necessary, and that hasn't been determined yet," Wren said.
Freeman said he will continue to consult with doctors about how to treat his tear ducts, which have bothered him since the Braves' trip to Colorado in May. Lasik surgery is one option, but it is not recommended for people under 25. Freeman turned 23 less than a month ago.
Freeman said he will also receive a couple cortisone shots in his left index finger. He is hopeful the shots, combined with rest, will fully heal an injury he has dealt with since early June.
Delgado, Teheran still figure into Braves' future
ATLANTA -- General manager Frank Wren said despite disappointing seasons from Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran, the Braves still place a high value on the young right-handers.
Both Delgado and Teheran were expected to be key pieces of the Braves' pitching staff this season. Delgado opened the season in the rotation, but was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett after amassing a 4.42 ERA and a 1.429 WHIP in 17 starts. Teheran started the year in Triple-A and was expected to pitch his way to the Major Leagues sometime this season. Instead, he struggled in Gwinnett and made just one spot start for the Braves.
Wren said Saturday that Delgado and Teheran are still important pieces of the Braves' plans.
"They're still guys that we value a lot," Wren said. "If we're going to have any discussions, it's going to be for a very big piece."
The Braves sent special assistant Dom Chiti to Gwinnett in August to help straighten out Teheran. Before Chiti arrived, Teheran had a 5.16 ERA in 96 innings and was striking out 6.19 batters per nine innings. In 35 innings in August, Teheran had a 4.89 ERA and averaged 7.97 strikeouts per nine innings.
"He got off track for about two-thirds of the Minor League season," Wren said. "In the month of August, he got back on track and was dynamic and outstanding again. We're looking forward to him."
Delgado and Teheran are expected to compete with right-hander Tommy Hanson for a spot in next year's rotation.
Delgado will turn 23 in February. Teheran will be 22 in January. Because of their age and raw abilities, both are still well regarded as prospects. Teheran is rated the Braves' No. 1 prospect and the No. 24 overall prospect according to MLB.com. They will both pitch in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
• The Braves will invite their entire coaching staff to return next season. "I thought it was a terrific coaching staff," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
• Third baseman Chipper Jones spent his first morning of retirement watching his sons Tristan and Shea play in a flag football game. Jones' sons won the game, combining for five touchdowns.
Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.