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Diamondbacks sign Chris Iannetta to one-year deal

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Free agent catcher Chris Iannetta signed a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks, as confirmed by the team on Friday night. According to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com, the deal is set at $1.5 million.

The 33-year-old backstop batted .210/.303/.329 with seven home runs and 24 RBI for the Mariners in 2016. He was even shakier on defense, seeing a significant regression in his pitch framing skills that left him ranked among the worst defensive catchers in the league during the 2016 season (via StatCorner).

The Diamondbacks acquired another veteran backstop in Jeff Mathis last month, signing the 33-year-old free agent to a more sizable two-year contract. While Iannetta’s defense has yet to stabilize, Mathis’ skills behind the plate placed him among the top 20 performers in 2016. Piecoro reports that the Diamondbacks have high hopes for Iannetta’s on-base and power potential, neither of which appear to have surfaced in recent years. With Iannetta and Mathis hovering around the Mendoza line, both catchers are expected to partner with the more offensively-talented Chris Herrmann behind the plate 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.