Free agent right-hander Jason Hammel is having difficulty finding a landing spot this winter, according to a report by FanRag Sports’ John Perrotto. “Many teams” appear reluctant to take a flyer on the 34-year-old, despite his productive run with the Cubs last season, and Perrotto notes that the veteran starter is unlikely to net anything beyond a one-year contract heading into 2017.
Hammel pitched to a 3.83 ERA in 2016, supplemented by a 7.8 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 166 2/3 innings with Chicago. While not a career-worst year by any means, his strikeout and walk rates took a hit in 2016, followed by a subsequent dip in his overall value from 2.4 fWAR in 2015 to 1.5 in 2016. This may signal the start of Hammel’s decline to some teams, Perrotto speculates, especially when coupled with the righty’s late-season elbow issues.
It’s unlikely that Hammel will reach a deal before the calendar flips to 2017, but it’s not for lack of trying that he hasn’t fielded any serious offers yet. The righty switched up his representation last week, dropping Octagon in favor of ACES. While Cubs president Theo Epstein vouched for Hammel’s health back in November (albeit before announcing the decision to decline his $12 million option, via FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal), it’s likely not enough to inspire a multi-year deal for the injury-prone veteran.
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.