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Angels employees had knowledge of Tyler Skaggs’ opiate abuse

Other players were cited allegedly using, too.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Houston Astros Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

According to an extremely detailed report from Outside The Lines’ T.J. Quinn, numerous Angels employees were aware of Tyler Skaggs’ drug abuse well before he was found passed out in his hotel room on July 1, 2019.

Quinn cites sources familiar with the DEA investigation, including naming Eric Kay (the Angels’ director of communications) as supplying Skaggs with opiates.

A public relations employee for the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years, and that two team officials were told about Skaggs’ drug use long before his death, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.

Kay told investigators he illegally obtained six oxycodone pills and gave three to Skaggs a day or two before the team left California for the road trip to Texas, according to the two sources. Kay told DEA agents he does not think the pills he obtained for Skaggs were the same ones the pitcher took the day he died because Skaggs typically would ingest the pills immediately after receiving them from Kay, the sources said. Skaggs also texted Kay the day the team left for Texas seeking more oxycodone, a request Kay told investigators he was unable to fulfill, the sources said.

According to Kay, Skaggs would pay Kay for the opiates he bought.

Kay told investigators that he and Skaggs had worked out an arrangement in which Kay would obtain drugs for Skaggs and himself, and Skaggs would pay for them. Outside the Lines reviewed Venmo transactions alleged to have occurred between Skaggs and Kay, which show a series of payments over two years ranging from $150 to $600.

Former Angels longtime PR head Tim Mead was reportedly aware of Skaggs’ drug abuse, dating back to 2017.

According to the two sources familiar with what Kay told DEA investigators, Kay told agents that he had first mentioned Skaggs’ use to Mead in 2017. In addition, Kay told investigators about a second Angels official who knew of Skaggs’ use.

It will be interesting to see if Skaggs’ family has a case against the Angels organization regarding Angels staffers supplying Tyler Skaggs with opiates, as the case could set precedent throughout major league baseball and professional sports organizations regarding drug use and drug abuse.

Under MLB rules, team officials made aware of a player’s drug abuse are required to report this information to the commissioner's office immediately, which no Angels employee reportedly did.

Kay has been placed on paid leave from the Angels organization, according to the report.