Pirates acquire Jaff Decker from Padres, designate Garrett Jones for assignment

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Garrett Jones, who was a regular for the Pirates for four-plus seasons before losing his job to Justin Morneau down the stretch, has been designated for assignment.

Jones made $4.5 million this year and hit just .233 with 15 homers and a .708 OPS in 144 games, so at age 32 and with a similar salary due for 2014 via the arbitration process he was a likely non-tender candidate anyway.

With a .774 career OPS he should have no problem finding another gig, although it may involve a part-time/platoon role and will almost surely involve a cut in pay.

Pittsburgh needed Jones’ 40-man roster spot after acquiring outfielder Jaff Decker from the Padres. Decker’s prospect stock has plummeted in recent years, but he hit reasonably well at Triple-A as a 23-year-old and has always had excellent on-base percentage.

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.