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The Red Sox to pick up Clay Buchholz’s $13.5 million option

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From the World Series to the hot stove in less than 12 hours. Baseball never sleeps, folks.

Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that the Red Sox will soon announce that they are picking up Clay Buchholz’s $13.5 million option for 2017.

Buchholz had a forgettable 2016, posting an ugly 4.78 ERA in 139.1 as a swingman. It’s a weak free agent market, however, and the Sox can’t necessarily assume they could replace even that level of production on the open market. If they declined the option, meanwhile, they would be unlikely to keep Buchholz in the fold because he’d actually look pretty good to a lot of teams.

Not that this is just a security play. Buchholz rebounded in the second half, so it’s not crazy to think that the 32-year-old former ace can rebound for a full year in 2017.

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.