A’s “have strong interest” in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler

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Oakland has been parting with big-league talent all offseason, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s “have strong interest” in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler.

According to Slusser the A’s also like fellow Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but because he’s 26 years old and out of their price range they’ve focused on Soler instead.

Slusser speculates that bidding for Soler could top $20 million, so he certainly won’t be cheap. Last year fellow Cuban defector Leonys Martin got $15.5 million from the Rangers and as long as Soler signs before the new collective bargaining agreement kicks in there are no limits on spending.

Soler is a 6-foot-3, power-hitting outfielder who’ll likely end up in right field and Jim Callis of Baseball America described him as “a 19-year-old athlete with five-tool potential.” And according to Callis he likely would have been a top-five pick in the 2010 draft had he been eligible.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.