Last-place Diamondbacks are preparing for a fire sale

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Arizona’s front office is in flux, with Tony La Russa coming in and both general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson seemingly unlikely to stick around, and not surprisingly the last-place Diamondbacks are hoping to unload some of their veteran players for long-term help before the July 31 trade deadline.

Who exactly could be available? According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic just about every veteran player except All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but the problem is that most of them aren’t having good seasons and/or have undesirable contracts.

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, left-hander Oliver Perez, outfielders Cody Ross and Mark Trumbo, and second baseman Aaron Hill will likely be shopped around, and Eric Chavez and Bronson Arroyo are other trade candidates if they can get healthy. And it’s possible that the Diamondbacks could look to trade Martin Prado or Gerardo Parra if the other guys don’t generate enough interest to bring back significant long-term building blocks.

Piecoro quotes one scout as saying that there’s “not a lot of pieces to move” and another scout as saying that “the pieces they will want to move will only get a marginal return because of the money involved.”

In other words: Tony La Russa may have his hands full with this remodel job.

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.