Gerrit Cole
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Yankees can void Gerrit Cole’s decision to opt out of contract


The Yankees introduced new ace Gerrit Cole at a press conference on Wednesday as their record nine-year, $324 million contract was finalized. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported a previously unreported detail about Cole’s contract: if Cole opts out of his contract after the 2024 season, the Yankees can choose to void his decision if they add one more year and $36 million to the back end of the deal. That would bring the total value of the contract to 10 years and $360 million.

Cole, 29, will be entering his age-34 season when the decision comes, with Four years and $144 million remaining on the deal. At that point in his career, Cole will be deciding if he can do better on the open market. If he does opt out, the Yankees then have to decide if it’s worth keeping him around for the next five years — his age-34 through age-38 years — and $180 million. It seems unlikely that both Cole opts out and the Yankees handcuff themselves to his mid- and late-30’s seasons.

The Yankees paid a premium for baseball’s top free agent. He’s coming off a season in which he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, 326 strikeouts, and 48 walks over 212 1/3 innings. In the postseason, Cole posted a 1.72 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 11 walks over 36 2/3 innings, helping lead the Astros back into the World Series where they ultimately lost in seven games. The Yankees, who were stymied by Cole in Game 3 of the ALCS two months ago, are hoping he can bring that magic to the Bronx for at least the first five seasons of the contract.

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.