Report: Biogenesis players ready to accept their bans

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Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that, Alex Rodriguez excepted, the rest of the players involved in the Biogenesis scandal are ready to accept suspensions or 50 games or more.

Sources told Passan that the suspensions will come down within 72 hours. The AP is reporting that Friday could be the day. Among those expected to be suspended are the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz, the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta and the Padres’ Everth Cabrera. Passan adds that there still may be major leaguers suspended we don’t yet know about. However, Biogenesis players caught with PEDs in their system and suspended last year (Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal) aren’t expected to face further punishment.

According to Passan:

MLB set 50 games as a baseline for players involved with Biogenesis, sources said, and those who did not cooperate during the investigation agreed to receive additional penalties of double-digit games.

That would explain the Ryan Braun agreement: 50 games for the PED use, plus 15 additional games for his lack of cooperation. Though it still hardly seems right that not cooperating with the investigation is grounds for an additional penalty.

As for Rodriguez, he still plans to be a holdout, despite all of the evidence against him. And multiple reports have indicated that MLB has more ammo to use against Rodriguez than it does the rest of Bosch’s clients. But MLB is also seemingly going after Rodriguez unlike any of the other players, threatening him with an 150-game or maybe even a lifetime suspension. If A-Rod chooses to appeal his suspension, the league could prevent him from playing anyway under the “best interests of baseball” clause.

Passan also notes that much of the evidence working against the players comes in the form of text messages between the players and Tony Bosch that detail the cash-for-drugs transactions.

Besides Cruz, Peralta and Cabrera, suspensions are also expected to be handed down to the Mariners’ Jesus Montero, the Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli and Fernando Martinez, the Mets’ Cesar Puello and free agents Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto. Of those players, Cervelli is the only current major leaguer, though he’s been on the DL since April. Montero also counts as a major leaguer for suspension purposes, since he’s still on the 40-man roster after being demoted to Triple-A by Seattle.

Should Cruz and Peralta accept their suspensions as indicated, the Rangers and Tigers would be weakened for the stretch run. The Rangers are already actively hunting for outfield help. The Tigers aren’t being mentioned in connection with shortstops, but they may be trying to do something behind the scenes. Both Cruz and Peralta have extra incentive to accept the suspensions, since they’re free agents at season’s end and would struggle to find offers with the bans hanging over their heads.

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.