Los Angeles Angels: Tyler Skaggs allegedly middleman for drug suspect

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 05: The #45 jersey of recently deceased Los Angeles Angels player Tyler Skaggs hangs in the team's dugout before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Ring Central Coliseum on September 05, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 05: The #45 jersey of recently deceased Los Angeles Angels player Tyler Skaggs hangs in the team's dugout before the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Ring Central Coliseum on September 05, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Reports published Monday say federal investigators intend to prove that deceased Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs served as a middleman for a team employee who is suspected of drug dealing.

The Los Angeles Times and Yahoo Sports both reported Monday that investigators believe Skaggs, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2019, was a connection for Eric Kay. Prosecutors are reported to be building a case that Kay, who worked in the Angels’ communications department, provided drugs to some major league players.

Late Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs allegedly involved in drug dealing

Kay was indicted last October on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury. He has pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled to begin in October.

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The Times obtained Court documents indicating that at least five unnamed major league players were prepared to testify that they obtained oxycodone, a prescription pain reliever, from Kay.

The Times report said prosecutors are prepared to present evidence that Skaggs worked for Kay as a middleman in the transactions.

Skaggs was 29 when he was found dead in a Texas hotel room July 1, 2019. An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be choking that followed ingestion of fentanyl and oxycodone and alcohol. Fentanyl, like oxycodone, is a prescription pain reliever.

Members of Skaggs’ family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, naming the Angels, Kay and Kay’s supervisor, Tim Mead, as defendants. The Angels have described the wrongful death suit as “without merit” and said they would fight it.

Skaggs was a starter for the Los Angeles Angels when he died. In 2019, he was 7-7 with a 4.29 ERA in 15 starts encompassing nearly 80 innings.

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In his final start, two nights before his death, he pitched four and one-third innings in a 4-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics.