A report by Bill Shaikin in the LA Times discusses a deepening probe into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Long after the ceremonial mourning and the coroner’s report the notion of who might have been complicit in the man’s death is being investigated.
The job of the grand jury in this case is to ascertain if there is enough evidence to indict someone on criminal charges in the death of Skaggs. While the report only alluded to two unnamed sources, it had no problem naming a few names of club personnel who might be up the proverbial Sheist Creek if any complicity on their part can be proven.
The first is Eric Kay, on the surface a company man in the team’s PR department, but underneath that a pitiful addict struggling to maintain that work/habit balance providing oxycodone to Skaggs and apparently feeding his own addiction along the way. ESPN reported that Kay cooperated with Texas investigators, admitting he had scored six Oxy pills and had given three to Skaggs. The Angels pitcher mixed pills and booze and aspirated on his own vomit on July 1. The Four Letter network also reported that Kay was in a substance abuse program as of October.
Shaikin reports that the Angels are cooperating via Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey. He cites a former prosecutor saying that while the probe could be limited to this specific incident, a grand jury could expand to a much wider probe of opioids in professional sports.
All the evidence that comes to light could incriminate two Angels front office legends: Tim Mead and traveling secretary Tom Taylor, who Kay has alleged knew Skaggs was using and that Kay was supplying. Mead left the team after over thirty years with an early season victory lap to become the president of baseball’s Hall of Fame. This allegation has pretty much been the only spot on Mead’s record, but it could be a costly one – a revelation that a team executive knowing that an active “fixer” was “taking care” of a player (or players) could be worth tens of millions of dollars in a potential wrongful-death lawsuit that the Skaggs family could pursue.
Knowing the clubby, closed-door corporate culture of Angels management, nothing in Kay’s tale sounds far-fetched. Stay tuned; the lost wages Tyler Skaggs never earned may one day come back from that Arlington road trip… and Arte Moreno’s wallet will never be the same…
Photo by Rex Fregosi