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View from the other side: Red Sox questions for Matt Collins of Over the Monster

Setting up the weekend series with the Red Sox, we ask questions of Matt Collins, blogger for Over the Monster.

I think the Red Sox should fired their conditioning coach. Maybe they should hire someone from the Indians. That seems to be the in thing.
I think the Red Sox should fired their conditioning coach. Maybe they should hire someone from the Indians. That seems to be the in thing.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

We start a weekend series with the Red Sox tonight. The Sox are 4-4, tied with us and the Yankees for second in the AL East.

I've had a hard time getting these set up, so far this season. All the bloggers are busy with their own site.

But I was lucky enough to get Matt Collins from Over the Monster, SB Nation's Boston Red Sox site, to give me a hand. Thanks Matt.

I really enjoyed watching David Price last year, he was a treat to watch on the mound, and he seemed like a great teammate. That said, I don't think I'd want to be paying him $217 million over the next 7 years. What do you think of Price and what do you think of the contract?

I think he was the perfect target for the Red Sox and fits them as well as anyone. Obviously, he's an incredible pitcher, and they were sorely lacking a reliable arm to place at the top of their rotation. On top of that, as you said, he's a fantastic teammate. As the Red Sox try to develop guys like Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, having that kind of mentor is huge. He also is the type of guy who can replace David Ortiz in the clubhouse, at least to an extent.

As for the contract, it's certainly a lot of money but the Red Sox aren't really a team I want to be avoiding those deals. Even with all of the bad money currently on the roster, they are more than able to stay afloat. Plus, it's very likely that Price will use his opt-out and the Red Sox won't end up paying the full $217 million. But even if he doesn't, and he starts to look bad in the last couple years of the deal, he should provide enough value on the front end to make up for that.

I have to ask about Pablo Sandoval. I enjoyed watching him break his belt in Toronto. Do you think his time in Boston is over? Is there any way he can repair the relationship with the team?

Ugh. I don't think his time in Boston is technically over, but it might as well be. It's becoming more and more clear that both sides want to part ways. I think they'll try to get him back on the field for a few weeks after he comes back from the DL to see if they can build anything resembling trade value. I'm not sure how this relationship is fixed, although it's hard to be completely definitive from the outside. With that being said, they've shied away from playing him all year, and I don't think they believe he can play anymore. I have no idea who will take him, but at some point someone will take a flier when the Red Sox eat most of the money.

John Farrell's bout with cancer has gone a ways towards making me dislike the guy less. What do you think of him as a manager? Strengths/weaknesses?

As someone who is never around the team, it's always been a little tough for me to judge managers. Obviously, sometimes there are guys like Bobby Valentine where it's completely clear how bad they are. Farrell's not that. With that being said, there are clearly some issues here. I've had plenty of beefs with some of his lineup decisions, and his bullpen management has been mind numbing at times. However, he appears to do a good job of keeping the peace in the clubhouse. That last couple of seasons has been a perfect recipe for dissension among the roster, and it hasn't really happened. At least not at a public level. He'll be on the hot seat if the Red Sox get off to another bad start, but he's a perfectly average and adequate manager in my eyes.

Are we going to see a Derek Jeter style farewell tour? Does he get a gift in every city? How much are you going to miss him?

I don't think Ortiz will get quite as extravagant of a tour as Jeter, and if we're being honest he probably doesn't deserve to. He may get gifts in every city, but they probably won't make the same kind of show out of it.
I can't really describe how much I'm going to miss him. He came to the Red Sox four years after I really started following the team closely, so he's been here for almost my whole rooting life. Simply being on the 2004 roster is enough to gain legendary status around here, and then you add in two more World Series, what seems like a million game-winning hits, and his speech after the Marathon Bombing. I'm probably not going to root for another athlete like Ortiz in my life.

Of the younger Red Sox, (Swihart, Bogaerts, Shaw, Bradley, Betts) which one do you see having the best career?

This is a fun debate among Red Sox fans, and it really comes down to Betts and Bogaerts. If you polled 100 fans, it'd probably come pretty close to 50/50. I've always been on the side of Bogaerts, but it's getting closer as time goes on. Betts has already shown a high floor, and could be at least a borderline All-Star for a long time. Bogaerts has improved his defense at shortstop to an extent that I never thought was possible, and has shown great bat-to-ball skills. His track record thus far isn't the same as Betts, but I still believe he will add that power eventually. It's really about floor vs. ceiling with them, and I tend to lean towards Bogaerts and the slightly higher ceiling. But I'm glad the Red Sox don't have to make that choice.

I see Clay Buchholtz has had a couple of rough starts (I'll admit he isn't one of my favorites). What's been his problem? You expect him to bounce back?

A person can drive themselves crazy trying to explain Buchholz. Coming into the year, I was cautiously optimistic that he would be a solid pitcher to slot behind Price as long as he was healthy. It's hard to pin his rough start on anything in particular. He's struggling with his command a lot early on, walking a ton of players and leaving flat pitches out over the plate. I hope he's better, but I'm not dumb enough to say I expect anything out of Buchholz, good or bad.

Where do you see the Red Sox finishing? What would have to go right for them to make the playoffs?

Before the season, I had them winning 87 games and finishing in second behind the Blue Jays, making one of the wild card spots. I don't think enough has happened for me to change that prediction. The Red Sox really need another pitcher to step up behind Price if that's going to happen. Porcello is a fine league-average arm, but they need someone in between. Buchholz and Rodriguez are really the only two options, and if one of them can step up until the All-Star break, I'd expect them to trade for another rotation piece at the deadline.

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