Nathan Eovaldi etched his name in Red Sox lore in October with his legendary performance in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series, and despite testing the MLB free agent waters, the veteran right-hander returned to Boston on a four-year contract worth $68 million.
Several teams had interest in Eovaldi during free agency, but one club in particular did not show much interest, and it surprised the 29-year-old veteran.
"Houston is home for me," Eovaldi told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "I would have had more talks with the Astros but they just didn't want any part of it so they were out of the question."
Eovaldi later added: "I was a little surprised it didn't go any further (with the Astros). Really there were no talks. I was a little surprised by that. But I understand it's a business and there are no hard feelings or anything like that. I'm happy with the deal I got."
The Astros certainly could use Eovaldi, and maybe they regret not pursuing him with a little more effort.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel remains a free agent, leaving a hole in the team's rotation. Two other starters from Houston's 2018 rotation also won't factor into the 2019 squad -- Charlie Morton signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. will miss the entire season due to Tommy John surgery.
Eovaldi made his spring training debut Wednesday and pitched three innings, giving up one earned run, one hit and one walk with one strikeout. His velocity also impressed.
The Astros' loss should be the Red Sox's gain, and given Eovadi's valuable versatility as a starter and bullpen arm, he could be among Boston's most important players this season.
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