A.J. Burnett turned down trade to Angels for Bobby Abreu

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While the A.J. Burnett trade talks between the Yankees and Pirates keep chugging along Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News reports that the Yankees had a deal in place to send him to the Angels for Bobby Abreu … but Burnett used his no-trade clause to block the move.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that the Yankees and Indians talked about a Burnett-for-Travis Hafner swap at some point, so New York being interested in Abreu as a different veteran designated hitter option makes some sense.

Abreu is part of the Angels’ logjam of bats and is due $9 million this season (compared to $16.5 million over the next two seasons for Burnett). His production has declined significantly in his late-30s, but he still drew plenty of walks, got on base at a .353 clip, and stole 21 bases last year. It’s a moot point, however, as the Angels are one of 10 teams to which Burnett can veto a trade and various reports suggest he’ll wind up on the Pirates.

As for why a player would block a deal to the Angels but not the Pirates, Burnett’s wife is from Maryland and has a fear of flying.

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.