BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28: Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox heads to the dugout after flying out during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
With the fifth and final entry, Over The Monster's Armchair GM series ended. As you may recall, the series featured five of our writers outlining their plans for the Red Sox off season. All suggested different ways the Red Sox should proceed, from managers to free agents and trades.
Now comes the fun part. It's your turn to tell us how we did, to grade us relative to our peers. This post will provide an overview of each plan, links to each (in case you missed one of them), and an outline of the similarities and differences between them. Then, at the end, we'll ask you to vote for your favorite. So, without further ado, let's get reacquainted with Armchair GMs. I will present them in the order in which they appeared, and hope that I do each writer's plan some justice. (The writers names are linked to their stories.)
Backed by the belief that the 2011 team was better than their final record indicted, Marc didn't make radical changes. He added starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez as the fifth starter in trade from the Astros, re-signed both Jonathan Papelbon (3 years, $30 million) and David Ortiz (2 years, $20 million), and let Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield walk. He also brought back Erik Bedard. Possibly the wackiest move he suggested was hiring A.J. Hinch as manager. Hinch was unceremoniously fired by the Diamondbacks in 2010 after compiling a 89-123 record. Still, as wacky moves go, this wasn't all that wacky. Other than that, Marc attempted to get the band back together and make another run of it.
(To keep the flow of the article, I'm now going to talk about myself in the third person. I apologize in advance.) Matt's approach wasn't dissimilar to Marc's. The 2011 Red Sox just needed a bit of tweaking and some better luck. That tweaking took the form of hiring Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin as the new manager. To solidify the starting pitching, Matt made an expensive run at acquiring Japanese starter Yu Darvish (about $120 million over 6 years). He also brought back Erik Bedard. The other free agent signing was Andruw Jones to play right field and platoon against lefties. Beyond that, he resigned Papelbon (3 years, $36 million) and Ortiz (whatever it takes) and was the only one to bring Jason Varitek back as the back up catcher (1 year, $box of saltines). Mostly though, like Marc, the finished product didn't look vastly different than the 2011 team.
Matt's plan was the most radical to date. He hired Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux as manager (note: this was before Maddux took himself out of the running for the position). He bolstered the starting staff by adding twitter star Brandon McCarthy of the A's in trade. McCarthy has a year before becoming a free agent. In free agency, Matt jumped into the deep end of the pool by adding Carlos Beltran to play right field. Matt proposed a 2 year, $32 million contract. Beyond that, Matt dumps Wakefield and brings Varitek back as a bench coach. Lavarnway is installed as the new back up catcher. Matt dumped Papelbon and brought back David Ortiz (2 years, $16 million). He also brought back Erik Bedard.
Ben's plan started off by handing the keys to Pete Mackanin. Incidentally, Mackanin was the only managerial candidate to receive multiple votes. He also brought back Erik Bedard. Ben's two big acquisitions were Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco and former Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore. Nolasco would slot in as the fifth starter while Sizemore would be handed the keys to right field. Lavarnway would take over the back up catcher duties as Jason Varitek would not be re-signed. David Ortiz would be brought back on a two year deal to DH, while Jonathan Papelbon can take his histrionics elsewhere. To replace Paps, Ben brought in Phillies reliever Ryan Madson on a 3 year, $27 million deal (note: this eminently reasonable suggestion was made before Ruben Amaro, Jr. blew up the reliever market by offering a better deal than any reliever expected to the second or third best reliever on the market).
lone1c (whose actual name is Phil Collins, thus the pseudonym)
He also brought back Erik Bedard. Pete Mackanin was chosen as his manager du jour here as well. The big free agent addition was White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, who was targeted to reinforce the rotation (3 years, $45 million). Darren Oliver was brought in to bolster the pen. Wakefield and Papelbon were allowed to leave while David Ortiz was re-signed. Daniel Bard ascended to the closers role, only the second of the five plans to suggest that. Jason Varitek was given the position of pitching coach and Ryan Lavarnway acceded to back-up catcher-dom.
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There are your summaries. Please feel free to click back and examine the plans more closely as space hasn't allowed me to include the subtleties of each.
Now it's time to register your opinion. What do you think? Which plan was the best? Which one would you choose?
Vote now! Our egos must know the truth!
Which plan for the off season do you prefer?
Marc Normandin: Wandy/Paps/Ortiz; No Tek (27 votes)
Matt Kory: Yu Darvish/A.Jones/Tek/Paps/Ortiz (29 votes)
Matt Sullivan: Beltran/McCarthy/Ortiz; Tek as bench coach, No Paps (36 votes)
Ben Buchanan: Nolasco/McCarthy/Madson/Ortiz; No Tek or Paps (21 votes)
lone1c: Buehrle/Oliver/Ortiz; no Paps; Tek as pitching coach (29 votes)
142 total votes