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Report: Cardinals talking to the Rays about a trade for a starting pitcher

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It was reported earlier this week that the Dodgers have been in talks with the Rays about a potential trade for right-hander Jake Odorizzi. According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, it seems they might have some competition.

It’s unclear if the talks are actually about Odorizzi, as the Rays have some other appealing targets in Drew Smyly, Matt Moore, and Erasmo Ramirez. Tampa Bay just signed Chris Archer to a six-year, $25.5 million extension last year, so it’s highly unlikely he’s on the table as a possibility. Alex Cobb is another potential target, but he’ll likely be sidelined through around midseason next year while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

John Lackey recently left for the division rival Cubs as a free agent and Lance Lynn is due to miss the entire 2016 season after Tommy John surgery, so the Cardinals’ rotation currently consists of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Jaime Garcia. As of now, the fifth spot looks to be some combination of Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney, and Marco Gonzales. Given the injury risks in this bunch, the expectation has been that the Cardinals will acquire another arm this offseason.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.

There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.

Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.

In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.