Reds’ NL-best bullpen adds Jonathan Broxton from Royals

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You wouldn’t think the Reds would need more bullpen help, what with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall leading a relief corps that has the best ERA in baseball, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cincinnati has acquired Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran.

Broxton signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals this offseason and took over as closer following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury. He’s saved 23 games with a 2.27 ERA, although his 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings is sub par and well below the dominant numbers he once posted for the Dodgers.

Broxton gives the Reds a hard-throwing, late-inning bullpen option from the right side to go along with Chapman and Marshall from the left side. And the Reds now have seven relievers on the roster who’ve thrown at least 35 innings with a sub-3.50 ERA.

Joseph was the Reds’ third-round pick in 2009 and the 24-year-old left-hander has racked up 279 strikeouts in 208 innings as a minor leaguer to go along with a 3.50 ERA, reaching Triple-A this season. Sulbaran was their 30th rounder in 2008 and the left-hander has posted good strikeout rates with sketchy control as a starter, spending this season at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Neither is a top-ranked prospect, but the Royals did well to get them for a two-month bullpen rental.

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.