The Mets could make a play for Nick Franklin

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Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported last week that the Mariners were likely to trade either Nick Franklin or Brad Miller by Opening Day and speculated that the Mets could make a play for one of them. Well, he was told by a “Mets insider” today that the team does indeed see a possible match with Franklin.

According to Rubin, the Mets had talks with the Mariners as far back as December’s Winter Meetings. With Seattle reportedly shopping Franklin and on the lookout for young pitching, the expectation is that negotiations will pick up again over the next month. Rubin mentioned a possible Rafael Montero-for-Franklin swap, but that’s merely speculation and there’s no indication that the two sides are actually discussing such a trade. Still, the Mets have plenty of young pitching on the way, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use some of that depth in order to acquire a bat.

There are doubts about whether Franklin has the defensive ability to be a full-time shortstop in the majors, so a deal is no sure thing. As of now, the Mets are planning on going with Ruben Tejada as their starting shortstop, though signing free agent Stephen Drew remains a possibility.

Franklin, who turns 23 in March, hit .225/.303/.382 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI, and six stolen bases over 102 games in his first taste of the majors last year. He made 90 starts at second base and two at shortstop.

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.