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Report: Orioles could prioritize draft pick over Mark Trumbo

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The Orioles haven’t ruled out Mark Trumbo‘s return to Baltimore in 2017, but a recent interview with ESPN’s Jim Bowden suggests that their interests may lie elsewhere. Per Bowden, Baltimore GM Dan Duquette would rather pass on re-signing the 30-year-old slugger in order to net a first-round draft pick, which would be offered to the club in the event that Trumbo signs elsewhere in the league.

Despite Trumbo’s top-tier numbers in 2016 (.256/.316/.533, 47 homers in 667 PA), the market has been slow to develop for the outfielder/DH, perhaps in part, as Bowden suggests, because of the high-end draft pick attached to any potential contract. The Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Rockies and Indians have all been linked to him at some point this winter, though the Orioles appeared to be closest to signing him until a potential four-year, $50 million deal was nixed in mid-December.

MLB Network’s Jim Duquette added that the Orioles are also interested in adding some veteran pitching depth (including veteran right-hander Jason Hammel) and outfield defense, which could lead their focus away from Trumbo in the months to come.

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.