While much of the Yankees’ focus this offseason has centered on sluggers like Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Beltran, the team has expressed repeated interest in strengthening their pitching staff as well. They’ve already been linked to left-handed free agent Rich Hill and former Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman, both of whom are expected to command high salaries in 2017, and now they appear to have added right-handed starter Jason Hammel to the list (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com).
Hammel’s option was declined by the Cubs in early November, and the 34-year-old entered the free agent market after posting a 3.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 144 strikeouts for the 2016 champions. Despite being overlooked on the Cubs’ postseason roster, Hammel’s consistency on the mound should help him easily secure another spot in a major league rotation. The New York Post’s George A. King III reports that several other major league teams have inquired about the right-hander, though no names have been released yet.
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.