Nationals, Jordan Zimmermann avoid arbitration with two-year deal

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Dozens of players are agreeing to one-year deals to avoid arbitration, but Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals are among those inking two-year contracts.

Washington has bought out Zimmermann’s final two seasons of arbitration eligibility for $24 million, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’ll get $7.5 million this season and $16.5 million in 2015, at which point Zimmermann will be able to hit the open market as a 29-year-old free agent.

Zimmermann is coming off a fantastic season in which he led the NL with 19 wins and threw 213 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 161/40 K/BB ratio. He has a 3.40 career ERA in 113 career starts, including a 3.12 mark in 90 starts since 2011.

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.