The reality of Nathan Eovaldi's new $68M deal is still sinking in for hurler

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LAS VEGAS — Four or five times now, Nate Eovaldi has watched the Red Sox championship film. Winning the World Series has set in, but his new four-year contract with the Red Sox has not.

“It’s crazy,” Eovaldi said Monday, after his press conference announcing his four-year contract with the Sox. “Just take everything into perspective and the way we started and how we were able to finish, that Game 3 moment, it’s been amazing.

“I felt like it has set in. The signing still hasn’t set in. But the World series, I feel like it’s set in. I’m focused and ready to go for next year.”

The World Series glow has changed his life beyond a $68 million deal. When he goes to the supermarket, people recognize him. Stardom happens fast when you prove yourself on the biggest stage, an adjustment for a relatively quiet character like Eovaldi.

“It’s definitely been a lot different than in the past,” Eovaldi said. “A lot of my neighbors know who I am now. Before I was flying under the radar there. Being recognized at grocery stores and things like that. For the most part, everybody’s so thankful about my performance that I had in that Game 3 of the World Series so, just be able to talk to them and give them a little bit of whatever, it’s been a lot of fun.

“I’m still not used to it yet. … I’m extremely — it’s a humbling experience.”

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From his end, there was always a looming sense that Eovaldi would wind up back in Boston, but it wasn’t a foregone conclusion. There were four finalists, a source said. The Astros and Angels were among them, and Eovaldi confirmed his interest in the Astros. The Yankees pursued Eovaldi, but may not have been a finalist. 

Eovaldi decided early on in the process that he wanted to only pitch for a winning team. That meant that if a losing team hypothetically approached him with better offer, he would pass on it.

But even as the negotiations wound down, Eovaldi’s heart was set on the Sox, and there wasn’t a reasonable length other teams could go to to pry him away.

“They were definitely you know up there at the top of my list of the teams to go to,” Eovaldi said of a return to Boston, “Houston being one of the other ones, just because it’s home for me. I mean, it would have been really hard to leave Boston, so I’m happy to be where I am.

“I stepped back and I let my agents handle it. They’ve done an amazing job with me throughout my entire career. They gave me all the feedback and let me know of any of the teams that were contacting me but for the most part I was letting them do their job. I was in communication with them almost every day.”

Eovaldi said some teams wanted him to be a reliever, including potentially as a closer and in a part-time relief role that could theoretically help keep him healthy.

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