Dodgers decline $14 million option on Chad Billingsley’s contract

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The Dodgers have declined the $14 million option for the 2015 season on Chad Billingsley’s contract, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. The Dodgers instead will buy out that final year at $3 million, making Billingsley a free agent.

Billingsley, 30, missed all of the 2014 season and nearly all of the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The right-hander suffered a partial tear of his flexor tendon back in June which required yet more surgery and ended any chance of a late-season comeback.

Billingsley will draw some interest as a buy-low candidate, but he’ll have to settle for significantly less money than he made during his three-year, $35 million deal with the Dodgers. During the 2012 season, the last in which he was mostly healthy, he finished with a 3.55 ERA and a 128/45 K/BB ratio in 149 2/3 innings, so he still may be able to recapture his prior form.

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.