Report: White Sox talking to Athletics about Jeff Samardzija

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Could right-hander Jeff Samardzija be close to returning to Chicago? It’s a possibility, according to Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, who hears that the White Sox are involved in discussions with the Athletics about the former Cub.

There’s apparently more to this than your average vague Hot Stove rumor, as one source speculates that the two sides are past the “just talking” stage and believes that “serious talks are going on.” Busy days for Billy Beane. It’s unclear who is being discussed in the deal beyond Samardzija. Schouwen mentions that Alexei Ramirez could be a fit for the A’s since they need a shortstop, but it’s also possible they’ll ask for prospects in return.

Samardzija earned $5.345 million this past season while posting a 2.99 ERA across 33 starts between Chicago and Oakland. He’s arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. Some have reasoned that the A’s will wait for Max Scherzer/Jon Lester to sign before attempting to deal Samardzija, but the right offer could change that.

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.