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December 10, 2018

Nathan Eovaldi

Alex Cora

David Dombrowski

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: Last Thursday evening, the Boston Red Sox announced right-handed pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year contract to the 2022 season. In a moment, you'll be able to ask questions of Nathan Eovaldi; president of baseball operations, David Dombrowski; and Red Sox manager, Alex Cora. And I'd like to turn it over to David Dombrowski to say a few words.

DAVID DOMBROWSKI: Thanks for having us. Thanks for being here. We're very thrilled to have Nate back in the organization. Did a tremendous job for us. Last season joined us for the regular season and the postseason. For us it was really focussed if we could bring Nate back, and fortunately it worked out.

I'd like to thank our ownership group, John Henry and Tom Werner, Mike Gordon for their support to make this happen. As always, dedication to win with the best club on the field that we can. To really the person who did the majority of this work for our organization, which was Brian O'Halloran. He did all his work, and special thanks to the Levinson brothers and [inaudible] who stayed in contact with the rest of their group that they made this happen.

And most of all for Nate for accepting our offer. So we're very happy to have him back. And thrilled to go look forward to having him part of the organization in the next Spring Training.


Q. How important was it to you to kind of keep this group together now that you have Steve and Nate from the team that won it all?
DAVID DOMBROWSKI: Well, we're trying to keep as many members of the club together as we possibly can. However, 108 games in the regular season, played very well in the postseason. However, we've said numerous times that's very difficult to do in today's game, and with the rules and free agency.

So I think Nate's bringing him back was very important for us. So making that happen, but again I don't know that that's going to be possible to do it with everybody on a regular basis.

Q. Nate, after everything you've been through in your career, injuries, how much, how good does this feel to get a contract like this just after some of the things you've been through?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, it's definitely amazing. Everything that I've worked for and had to come back from. It's nice that the hard work paid off, and for it to be with the Red Sox couldn't be a better organization.

Q. Nathan, last week the DVD was premiered, and the fans all went crazy whenever you showed up and people yelling, Sign him, bring him back. Did you hear that, and what did you think about that?
NATHAN EOVALDI: A.C. was talking to me on the phone about it, and just to hear the reaction from the fans everything I was able to do in the postseason when I was traded over. Super excited to be able to come back and join the Red Sox and be here for another four years.

Q. Nathan, how much did you consider other teams, and beyond the contract itself, what did the environment and the other starters in Boston mean to you in terms of making this decision?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Free agency is something I've never experienced before. So start with my family first and trying to see what other options were out there for me. And Red Sox came in with their offer. We were extremely happy. My wife, my family, everybody, they all enjoyed that experience so much.

And everything that the Red Sox were able to do for me, and not only me but they took care of my family really well. And they stepped up big for us. And we're just really excited to come back and be a part of that.

The rotation we have is unbelievable. The pitching staff. The relationship that I made with all those guys for just that short period of time. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back and playing with them.

Q. Nathan, just how important was that relationship to you, and also how many other teams were interested in you and there were stories out there that you may have turned down even more money from other teams?
NATHAN EOVALDI: I mean, there were other teams out there that were interested for sure. But, again, out of respect for those teams, I don't want to name anybody in particular. But there were other offers.

But, again, the Red Sox they came in with the best one. And the relationship that I had over there and all that I experienced that I gained I feel like as a player, you have the love and support from your teammates, not only them but from the fans, and I felt like I was able to achieve that last year with the postseason run, and I want to come back and experience that again, hopefully be a part of it this year and win another World Series.

Q. Just wondering, the outpouring of emotion that you got after Game 3 from your teammates, before the parade, lots active guys saying that you needed to come back and how important it was to have you back, how big a factor was that emotion and welcoming from teammates, fans, the region, in your decision-making?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, I feel like that was a big part of it. Again, like I said, you always want to have that love and support from your fans and your teammates. The love and support that they were showing me throughout that whole series and especially after that Game 3, gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

And it's definitely a special moment and dear to my heart. I want to come back be a part of that.

Q. Was it very important to you to stay being a starter? There were some reports about teams wanting you as a closer. Was being a starter the most important thing to you?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, I view myself as a starter, and that's something I've always done my entire career. And I enjoy doing that. So if I had that choice, I still wanted to be a starter.

Q. Did some of the teams that contacted you tell you that they were interested in you out of the bullpen? And for Dave and Alex, did your evaluation of Nathan change at all in the Game 3 performance?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, I had a couple of them -- there were a lot of teams that reached out, wanted me to be a closer, and others that wanted me to be in the bullpen and wanted part time to save my arm.

ALEX CORA: We go back to the game, obviously, what he did was amazing. Like he was saying, for me personally that was like the biggest moment of the World Series, for him to compete at that level.

The conversations in between innings, they were cool. And I remember the last one when I asked him, How are you feeling, he said, Let me finish it. He said it with a lot of can conviction. I knew he was good.

When he came in, he bought into a concept. Throughout the regular season we made some adjustments as far as usage and the way he was attacking hitters. And I can't wait to see him again with us. He's going to be a huge part of this rotation, and he's a workaholic. He goes to the weight room, prepares; training room, same deal. He studies.

Four years of Nathan, that's going to be great for the organization.

Q. David and Alex, we use the expression "gamer," calling a guy a ballplayer is the greatest compliment, you have a roomful of those guys, but what's the difference when you're actually seeing it playing out; that you know you have a couple of guys that do something like that?
DAVID DOMBROWSKI: Well, sometimes it's a difference between winning and losing. I mean, we have guys that will go that extra mile for you, you never want to put them in harm's way where you're constantly checking with Alex and the medical staff or when the players put forward that extra step, that gamer.

That can make the difference, because a lot of talent in the game, we have a lot of talent in our organization, but I think one of the differences in winning ultimately being the type of makeup of individuals we have on the team.

ALEX CORA: I mean, one thing for sure -- last month and a half, the topic has been about their usage in October. But they were prepared. We took care of them in the regular season. And they knew going into October that the usage was going to be a little bit different. The difference is that they were willing to do it, too.

He walked into that breakfast room the next day after Game 3 and he said he was ready for it that night. Not that I was going to use him, of course. I'm not that stupid. But the willingness for all of them to go out there and perform and knowing that they were going to be healthy and do it at the highest level. If that's being a gamer, well, we've got a bunch of them.

Q. Dave, with some of the questions that exist about your rotation going forward, contract status in 2019, uncertainty for like Rick Porcello, how significant was it to have Nate and have him part of the efficient rotation going beyond next season?
DAVID DOMBROWSKI: I think it's part of the equation, very important. We know that there's a lot of question marks about long-term contract recall status of part of the members of our club; it's going to be a juggling act over the next several of years.

Again, we know we're not going to be able to sign everybody, but the more stability that's out there, the better off we are. Right now we're in a spot where we hope to keep everybody. It won't happen due to the rules, some of the interests, some of the contract offers they receive in other places, but having the possibility of having Nate and being in a position where you have a couple other guys. And you know with David Price and Eduardo, you at least three members to go forward. We hope we have five of them.

Q. In that vein, how much space do you still have to try and re-sign Kimbrel? And if you don't, what's the back-up plan?
DAVID DOMBROWSKI: Well, we'll see about the financial aspect of it. Our payroll is significant at this point. So we'll see what takes place. But if we don't make any outside acquisitions, we feel we have some internal choices with guys like Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, a couple of guys we think can step forward. Not necessarily be a closer, but with this type of signing, we can put Steven Wright into our bullpen too. We do have some options out there.

Q. Alex, last year you came into Spring Training with thoughts about how to keep a rotation healthy and rested. Wonder if through the course of the season did you learn anything more about how tricky that process is? Nathan has teams approaching him about the bullpen just for health concerns, way to keep him rested and a viable leader?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, we have to figure out through the regular season how we're going to use him. One of the conversations, in the last one, last week, like mapped out, I think, teammates approach Nate about how we do things in Spring Training, how we're going to take care of them. We're going to be in good shape.

That's where roster flexibility and versatility comes into play. I mean, for how great they were, Hector and BJ, they were the saviors of the season because we were able to use them in different situations, different spots. And they actually saved the rotation.

Nothing's going to change. Spring Training is going to be probably shorter for them as far as like usage, but they're going to be prepared for Seattle, looking forward to that.

Q. Dave and Nate, given how slowly the free agent has moved over the last couple of years, how much is time a factor, how important was it for you to get it done early?
DAVID DOMBROWSKI: I'll start from mine. You prefer always to do something quicker, if you can. But you also realize that it's not always possible. And sometimes patience has to pay off. But if it was our preference, you'd prefer to move it along, because if you're in a spot that -- if it's not going to work, sometimes you have to look at your other choices.

So quicker the better, but not always the case.

NATHAN EOVALDI: Sometimes the deal is there, sometimes it's not. For me, it was there. I mean, it was a no-brainer for me to come back here. So it was an easy decision to come over here, and I feel like my agents did a great job and knowing it was the right time.

Q. Nate and Dave, you're pretty unique after two surgeries. Why do you think you've been able to, given the fact that [inaudible]? And, Dave, what gives you the confidence he'll be able to stay healthy over the course of four years?
NATHAN EOVALDI: I feel like I've learned a lot from my surgeries. I worked extremely hard to try to come back from it and put all my trust and faith in God's hands, and also the fact that we have such an elite training staff. They know what they're doing.

I trust them. I think one of the biggest things I've learned over the time is just telling them if I feel something. In the past, if I felt a little soreness, I'd just try to throw through it, and it develops into something else.

But I feel I can trust my training staff. That's a big role in me coming over here as well. And anytime I feel anything, I tell them, and we start the rehab or the treatment for it. And then if it gets worse, then we take time off. But I think we've been able to work through a lot of things and stay healthy.

DAVID DOMBROWSKI: Taking that as a first part of it, our medical staff and Nathan's work ethic and the communication factors, his hard work, and how strong he is, but in addition to that, our medical staff and our doctors, we reviewed all the medical records, had additional tests done, some of it right after the season.

And so with the way our medical personnel felt, our doctors, that looking at all the past surgical history felt very comfortable to go to this length of contract. We always realize there's a risk you take with any player, but felt comfortable and felt comfortable with the length.

Q. You have a senior-type staff, but when you get to Spring Training, you know there's younger guys. Don Mattingly said something earlier today. He said he would have bet on you years ago because of the way you went out and approached the work part of this. How aware are you now that guys down in the camps backfields maybe have an understanding they're watching out of the corner of their eye to try to figure out how do I get my work done?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, I feel like that's part of it. You can't take for granted that every day that you get to put on that Big League jersey and you're representing the Red Sox on your chest. You always want to go out there and do a good job and work hard. They don't want to see you walking around kind of nonchalanting it out there. It could be Minor Leaguers or kids in the stands watching Spring Training. You want to set a good example not only for them but for the community as well.

Q. Could you go back to 2016 and you had -- when you got hurt, it was just a couple months before you were going to hit free agency. When that happened, did you think that a contract like this was even going to be possible for you?
NATHAN EOVALDI: Yeah, at that time it was my free agent year. I just had to finish the season strong. I ended up getting hurt. It was actually against the Red Sox. And I didn't think it would be possible. I knew it was going to be a little bit longer, delay in the process.

But, again, I feel like I trusted in God and I felt like everything He does for us, He has a plan for us, and I just have to be patient and keep working hard, and I feel like it will come and I feel like it has.


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