Tyler Skaggs’ oxycodone dealer was the Angels’ director of communications: report

New York Daily News Sports 1 day ago

Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher who died of a drug overdose in July, regularly bought oxycodone from a high-ranking Angels employee, who had told at least two coworkers about it “long before” Skaggs’ death.

Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications and the team’s No. 2 public relations executive, told the DEA that he frequently sold oxycodone pills to Skaggs. Kay’s lawyer confirmed that testimony to ESPN which published the explosive findings on Saturday. His account is corroborated by text messages and Venmo screenshots of Skaggs paying Kay hundreds of dollars multiple times over a two-year period.

Kay told the DEA that Skaggs snorted opioids, including oxycodone, in front of him the day he died. Skaggs died on July 1 in a Texas hotel before the Angels were scheduled to play the Rangers. The 27-year-old pitcher had oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol in his system when he died.

Skaggs got three oxy pills from Kay before the fatal road trip to Texas, but Kay believes they weren’t the ones that killed Skaggs because the late pitcher would usually take the pills “immediately.”

Kay’s mother told ESPN that her son abused drugs for 20 years and is currently on paid leave and in outpatient rehab.

He also said that he told his boss, former Angels VP of communications Tim Mead, about Skaggs’ drug use at least twice. (The other Angels employee that Kay spoke to is not named in the report. Kay also named five Angels players as opiate users in interviews with feds.) The first time Kay told Mead about Skaggs and opioids was in 2017; the second was in April 2019 when Kay was recovering from an overdose of his own.

Mead, who became the president of the baseball Hall of Fame in June, denies the allegations. “I have had a lot of conversations with Eric Kay about a lot of things, but opioids and Tyler Skaggs were not one of them,” Mead told ESPN.

“We have never heard that any employee was providing illegal narcotics to any player, or that any player was seeking illegal narcotics,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement after ESPN’s story was published.

Kay is a longtime Angels employee who spent 24 seasons with the team between 1996 and 2019. The Los Angeles Times reports that while he hasn’t gone to work since shortly after Skaggs’ death, he’s still an Angels employee.

Kay’s lawyer, Michael Molfetta, told the LA Times that “I can state unequivocally that anyone who blames Eric Kay for Tyler Skaggs’ death is incorrect. Trying to lay blame at any one person’s feet is not just morally wrong, it’s factually wrong... The young man obviously had a problem and he paid a very high price for his problem.”

Molfetta went on to blame Skaggs for his own death, saying, “Sometimes you make a series of horrible decisions and you pay a very high price.”

Skaggs was an seven-year MLB veteran with 28 wins between the Diamondbacks and Angels.

His family is represented by Texas lawyer Rusty Hardin. No wrongful death lawsuit has been filed yet, but the family had hinted at the Angels’ responsibility when his autopsy was released in June. "They greatly appreciate the work that law enforcement is doing, and are patiently awaiting the results of the investigation,” Hardin said Saturday.

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A top public relations official with the Los Angeles Angels provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs, and abused the drug with him before the pitcher died earlier this year, the employee's attorney told CNN on Saturday.
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