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10/03/2004 4:54 PM ET
How the Braves were built
Team able to replace big names with quality
By Jon A. Dolezar / MLB.com
Braves general manager John Schuerholz is a big reason why the club has won a record 13 consecutive division titles. While his body of work makes him one of the most respected front-office men in baseball history, Schuerholz's work in the 2003 offseason may have been his finest job yet. Despite losing big-name free agents Greg Maddux, Gary Sheffield and Javy Lopez, Schuerholz retooled the Braves by making a series of shrewd acquisitions in December. The key move was the trade with St. Louis on Dec. 13 which brought J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero to Atlanta in exchange for Jason Marquis, Ray King and Adam Wainwright. While the Braves gave up two promising young pitchers and a reliable lefty reliever, they acquired two of their top four outfielders -- including Drew, who was the team's most consistent player in 2004. The re-signing of Jaret Wright on Dec. 5 -- whom Atlanta had plucked off the scrap heap from San Diego in late August -- and the addition of journeyman John Thomson from Texas on Dec. 9 didn't exactly cause ripples around baseball as blockbuster moves, but that duo has combined for 29 wins and 281 2/3 innings this season. Here is how the 2004 Braves were put together.
1987 RHP John Smoltz acquired from the Detroit Tigers for Doyle Alexander on Aug. 12.
1990 3B Chipper Jones drafted in first round (No. 1 overall choice).
1993 OF Andruw Jones signed as a non-drafted free agent July 2.
1995 RHP Roman Colon signed as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 14.
1996 IF Mark DeRosa drafted in seventh round.
2B Marcus Giles drafted in 53rd round.
IF Wilson Betemit signed as a non-drafted free agent July 28.
SS Rafael Furcal signed as a non-drafted free agent Nov. 9.
1997 LHP Horacio Ramirez drafted in fifth round.
1998 2B Nick Green drafted in 32nd round.
RHP Jose Capellan signed as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 6.
2000 OF Charles Thomas drafted in 19th round.
1B Adam LaRoche drafted in 29th round.
2001 1B Julio Franco acquired from the Mexico City Tigers on Aug. 31.
2002 RHP Kevin Gryboski acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Elvis Perez on Jan. 18.
LHP Dan Meyer drafted in first round.
LHP Mike Hampton acquired from the Florida Marlins for Tim Spooneybarger and a player to be named later Nov. 17.
RHP Paul Byrd signed as a free agent Dec. 17.
RHP Russ Ortiz acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Damian Moss and minor leaguer Manuel Mateo on Dec. 17.
C Johnny Estrada acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Millwood on Dec. 20.
2003 RHP Jaret Wright claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres on Aug. 29.
LF Dewayne Wise signed to a minor league contract Nov. 18.
RHP Travis Smith signed as a free agent Nov. 25.
RHP John Thomson signed as a free agent Dec. 9.
RF J.D. Drew acquired along with Eli Marrero from the St. Louis Cardinals for Jason Marquis, Ray King and Adam Wainwright on Dec. 13.
LF Eli Marrero acquired along with J.D. Drew from the St. Louis Cardinals for Jason Marquis, Ray King and Adam Wainwright on Dec. 13.
C Eddie Perez signed as a free agent on Dec. 17.
RHP Antonio Alfonseca signed as a free agent on Dec. 23.
2004 RHP Tim Drew signed as a free agent on Jan. 6.
RHP Juan Cruz acquired from the Chicago Cubs along with Steve Smyth for Andy Pratt and Richard Lewis on March 25.
RHP Chris Reitsma acquired from the Cincinnati Reds for Jung Keun Bong and Bubba Nelson on March 26.
LHP Tom Martin acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Matt Merricks on July 31.
Jon A. Dolezar is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.