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Red Sox Armchair GM, Off-Season Edition: You Decide

We've laid out our offseason plans. Now it's up to you to decide whose is best.

Jim Rogash

Over the past week, we here at OTM have taken our turns at taking over for Ben Cherington as general manager of the Boston Red Sox, laying out our plans for the fresh new offseason. We've signed our free agents, proposed our trades, and fiddled with the rosters as best we could to produce a team that has a chance at winning a few games in 2013 and even more going forward.

Now it's up to you to decide whose plan you like best. Because though Over The Monster is a ruthless dictatorship, we do like to give everyone a chance to pretend they've actually got some say. A poll a day keeps rebellion at bay, and all that.

So, let's take a look back at the options:

Marc Normandin got us started with an approach focused on filling a few holes and relying on healthy returns and improved performances in 2013 to get the Sox into a winning position.

Being the first to go, Marc also started a couple of trends: re-signing Cody Ross and David Ortiz. Without fail, every single plan has Big Papi and Ross back with the team. As such, there's not really any point in bringing it up again--every plan includes David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Also, all the bullpens are more-or-less the same, so...

Marc's biggest move was focused on the area of greatest need: the rotation. Lining up a deal for Anibal Sanchez if the bidding war stays reasonable. If not, Marc proposed turning to journeyman Jeremy Guthrie for his experience in the A.L. East, also proposing plenty of minor league contracts for pitchers like Brandon McCarthy, Carlos Villanueva, and Rich Harden if no major league options are forthcoming. Quite a few others also went with similar depth options, so we'll leave those out going forward too.

In the lineup, Marc turned to free agency for a couple of veterans, and to the minor leagues to fill out the remaining spaces. Ideally, Marc would bring back Kevin Youkilis to reprise his role at first base. If the end of Bobby Valentine in Boston is not enough to heal the old wounds for Youkilis, however, Mike Morse would be the backup plan. In left field, Marc provides a trio of options in Torii Hunter, Angel Pagan, and Ichiro Suzuki, but centers in on Hunter as the primary target. Jose Iglesias finally gets the nod at short, and Ryan Lavarnway and Ivan De Jesus Jr. provide backup options to fill out the 25-man.

I took over next, going super-aggressive and basically trying to remake the team on a two-year basis. Looking to spend as much of the team's money as possible without topping the CBT threshold, I started with signing two big free agent pitchers rather than one, moving Felix Doubront to a sixth man/long relief role. Edwin Jackson was my longest term target, hoping to sign him on for four years at around $12 million per year, with Jake Peavy the second man for a short-term deal. That, of course, is off the table now, but my backup in Dan Haren remains available, with the Sox apparently linked.

My lineup overhaul focused primarily on the positions of catcher and first base, where I lined up three players for the two positions: Mike Napoli, David Ross, and Justin Morneau. The Twins will hopefully be looking to get rid of his salary and get something decent if unexceptional back, since they can't be sure they'll want to offer him a qualifying offer for 2014. Meanwhile Napoli is hopefully enticed to ply his bat in Fenway Park either to build value for a bigger FA contract, but overpaying wouldn't be the end of the world there. Meanwhile, David Ross provides an excellent defensive glove off the bench, and can play against lefties, shifting Napoli over to first.

At shortstop I turned to Stephen Drew, taking a gamble and hoping for a high payoff in a pretty terrible market for shortstops. After toying around with the idea of a Jacoby Ellsbury - Justin Upton swap of some kind, I eventually opted to just settle for Melky Cabrera, taking advantage of a depressed market for the PED user in hopes that his performance would not be too far off his recent seasons despite being off the drugs. Finally, I kept Pedro Ciriaco and Daniel Nava on board, and turned to minor leaguer Juan Carlos Linares to fill the last bench spot in place of the non-tendered Ryan Sweeney.

Matt Collins' unique target was Shane Victorino in the outfield. Hoping that a depressed market will drive the one-time star to Fenway's left field on a Beltre contract. If not, however, Collins could turn to familiar option Torii Hunter, should the Angels let him go to free agency.

Collins' other major acquisition for the lineup would be first baseman Ike Davis from the New York Mets. HIs interest there is well-documented, so I'll let you check that out for yourselves rather than trying to sum it all up in one sentence. Andrew Miller, Blake Swihart, and Stolmy Pimentel is his proposed package for the young corner infielder.

As with Marc, Collins would turn to Jose Iglesias to take over at shortstop, unimpressed with the weak crop of free agents. Ryan Lavarnway backs up behind the plate, while Pedro Ciriaco, Daniel Nava, and Ryan Sweeney all retain their places on the bench.

Finally, in the rotation, Collins went with Edwin Jackson on a three year, $36 million deal.

Brendan O'Toole was next in line, offering up solutions in both the outfield and the rotation unique to his plan. Brendan was the only one to suggest taking a shot at the Michael Bourn market, hoping that his massive contract expectations are as unrealistic for a .326 wOBA outfielder as they seem to be, speed be damned. Brendan suggests overpaying on the market price to keep the length of the contract as short as possible.

Also unique to Brendan's plan is the acquisition of Derek Holland in a trade for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury, bringing in a young, cost-controlled rotation option in exchange for the likely departing Ellsbury and the frustrating-if-entertaining Salty, freeing up Ryan Lavarnway to start behind the plate on a regular basis.

Backing up Lavarnway would be someone with a strong defensive glove like Jose Molina or David Ross, but also Mike Napoli, who Brendan has lined up to start at first base on a short deal aimed to rebuild his value after a somewhat disappointing season in Texas.

Meanwhile, Ryan Kalish gets the nod at the third outfield spot, with Bourn having replaced Ellsbury, leaving LF still open.

With Jose Iglesias making the start at shortstop and the bench trio of Ciriaco, Sweeney, and Nava returning for 2013, that wraps up Brendan's moves.

Matt Sullivan had a little bit of everyone else's plan so far. At first, he turned to Ike Davis, but with a rather unique method of acquiring him. Giving up only a bullpen arm, a C-rank outfield prospect, and Alfredo Aceves to New York, Sullivan's main offer is to take Jason Bay off of the Mets' hands, giving him and his unfortunate contract a bench spot in Boston in hopes that Fenway could revive his bat.

At shortstop he has Stephen Drew, seeing Jose Iglesias' presence at Triple-A as a possible way to mitigate Drew's injury difficulties.

In the rotation, Sullivan supports the Anibal Sanchez plan, though he limits the contract to a three-year deal with Edwin Jackson as a backup plan.

The place where Sullivan diverges from all the other plans so far is in handing Angel Pagan the starting job. Sullivan is sold on Pagan's all-around game, as well as the insurance he could provide in center against Jacoby Ellsbury leaving in 2014, keeping the Sox from having to rush Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Show too early.

Interestingly, Sullivan was also the only one to give Ryan Kalish a bench spot to start the year, making his backup outfield completely unique.

Of all the plans, Matthew Kory's might be the most unique.

There is some overlap, sure. He, like Sullivan before him, likes what Angel Pagan could do for the team. Kory is also intrigued by Ike Davis, but would prefer to preserve the farm system for other uses, and instead targets Kevin Youkilis for a return to the post-Bobby Sox.

Where things start to get interesting is with Jacoby Ellsbury, as Kory becomes the second Armchair GM to offer him up in a deal. Unlike Brendan, however, Kory goes all-out with his deal, sending Ellsbury to the Marlins along with Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman for wunderkind Giancarlo Stanton. While that makes Kory the only one of us to ship away one of the Three Bs, he's willing to go even further for Stanton if necessary.

But that's not all! While the Stanton acquisition was big in terms of prospects, Kory focuses his dollars on picking up Zack Greinke, dropping $115 million over five years on the ace. He acknowledges the risk is there, but believes it's worth it for a bonafide front-line starter like Greinke.

After all that, it seems a bit of a quick letdown to go back to things like this, but Kory tabs Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias to start at shortstop and catcher, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia relegated to the bench. Interestingly, Kory is also the only one to bring Jerry Sands up to the team.

Last, but not least, came lone1c.

Starting at first base, lone1c was onboard with the Napoli plan, offering up a bit of a longer deal at 3/36 than others with the same idea. Nick Swisher also comes up here, but is left as a backup plan given, y'know, that he's Nick Swisher.

At shortstop, lone1c goes for Stephen Drew, willing to shell out more in years and dollars for him than other plans suggested if necessary, given the weak crop around him. Alternatively, Marco Scutaro was offered as a possible Plan B, with the Sox bringing back the shortstop they salary-reliefed to Colorado for about the same money they saved by doing so. Lost: one year of Scutaro. Gained: Clayton Mortensen.

Doubting the team's ability to move Jacoby Ellsbury to another team, lone1c leaves the speedy free agent to be in center field, and turns to Ryan Kalish in left field, putting his faith in a healthy Kalish being the productive Kalish we had all hoped he would be a couple years back.

Lone1c also becomes the second of our order to target Zack Greinke for the rotation, though he expects he'll be available for rather less than Matthew Kory proposed to give him. If that doesn't pan out, however, Dan Haren provides the backup plan.

Finally, Mauro Gomez makes his only appearance here on the bench, with Ivan De Jesus, Daniel Nava, and Ryan Lavarnway rounding out the roster.

Marc Normandin Ben Buchanan Matt Collins Brendan O'Toole Matt Sullivan Matt Kory lone1c
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia Mike Napoli Jarrod Saltalamacchia Ryan Lavarnway Jarrod Saltalamacchia Ryan Lavarnway Jarrod Saltalamacchia
1B Kevin Youkilis Justin Morneau Ike Davis Mike Napoli Ike Davis Kevin Youkilis Mike Napoli
2B Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia
3B Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks
SS Jose Iglesias Stephen Drew Jose Iglesias Jose Iglesias Stephen Drew Jose Iglesias Stephen Drew
LF Torii Hunter Melky Cabrera Shane Victorino Ryan Kalish Cody Ross Giancarlo Stanton Ryan Kalish
CF Jacoby Ellsbury Jacoby Ellsbury Jacoby Ellsbury Michael Bourn Jacoby Ellsbury Angel Pagan Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Cody Ross Cody Ross Cody Ross Cody Ross Angel Pagan Cody Ross Cody Ross
DH David Ortiz David Ortiz David Ortiz David Ortiz David Ortiz David Ortiz David Ortiz
SP Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester
SP Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz
SP John Lackey John Lackey John Lackey John Lackey John Lackey John Lackey John Lackey
SP Felix Doubront Dan Haren Felix Doubront Felix Doubront Felix Doubront Felix Doubront Felix Doubront
SP Anibal Sanchez Edwin Jackson Edwin Jackson Derek Holland Anibal Sanchez Zack Greinke Zack Greinke
RP Scott Atchison Scott Atchison Scott Atchison Scott Atchison Scott Atchison Scott Atchison Scott Atchison
RP Craig Breslow Craig Breslow Craig Breslow Craig Breslow Craig Breslow Craig Breslow Craig Breslow
RP Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa Junichi Tazawa
RP Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey Andrew Bailey
RP Mark Melancon Felix Doubront Mark Melancon Clayton Mortensen Mark Melancon Mark Melancon Rich Hill
RP Andrew Miller Andrew Miller Rich Hill Andrew Miller Clayton Mortensen Andrew Miller Andrew Miller
RP Franklin Morales Franklin Morales Franklin Morales Franklin Morales Franklin Morales Franklin Morales Daniel Bard
RP Rich HIll
BN Daniel Nava Daniel Nava Daniel Nava Daniel Nava Jason Bay Jerry Sands Daniel Nava
BN Ivan De Jesus Jr. Pedro Ciriaco Pedro Ciriaco Pedro Ciriaco Ivan De Jesus Jr. Ivan De Jesus Jr. Ivan De Jesus Jr.
BN Ryan Lavarnway David Ross Ryan Lavarnway Jose Molina Ryan Lavarnway Jarrod Saltalamacchia Ryan Lavarnway
BN Ryan Sweeney Juan Carlos Linares Ryan Sweeney Ryan Sweeney Ryan Kalish
Mauro Gomez