Update on Tyler Skaggs

It just keeps getting darker.

New details are emerging from the investigation into the death of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels pitcher found dead in his hotel room in July. The initial autopsy report told us that the newlywed, 27-year-old Skaggs died from choking on his own vomit after a deadly mix of opiates and alcohol. Naturally, people wanted answers, and boy are things getting worse.

Details are now coming out and there will likely be even more questions. Federal investigators found texts between Skaggs and Angels director of communications Eric Kay, where it was found that Kay had been providing opiates to Skaggs for some time. There are Venmo transactions showing the payments from Skaggs to Kay. Kay admitted to providing oxycodone to Skaggs over the last few years, but denied providing the drugs Skaggs used at the time of his death.

The last time Kay states that he had provided drugs to Skaggs was a few days before the team left for their road trip to Texas, and he claims that Skaggs typically took the drugs immediately following getting them from Kay. He was apparently unable to meet the request from Skaggs to provide any pills to him while in Texas.

Kay did, admit, however, to being in the same room as Skaggs just a few hours before he died. Kay states that Skaggs snorted three lines of crushed up pills – two lines of what he recognized to be oxycodone, and a line of something unfamiliar to him (likely the fentanyl). Skaggs apparently offered to share with Kay, as they often used opiates together, but Kay declined.

Kay claims to have informed the Angels about Skaggs’ drug use starting in 2017. He told his then-boss, Tim Mead, who at the time was the vice-president of communications for the team. Mead held the role with the Angels from 1997 until this past June – he is now the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. Mead denies that Kay ever told him of Skaggs abusing any drugs. Kay also claims to have told a second, unnamed team official about Skaggs, but the Angels organization is standing firm in their denial that they had any knowledge of Skaggs’ drug use.

Eric Kay is currently on paid-leave from the team and is currently seeking treatment an out-patient rehab facility. He could feasibly be charged with drug distribution and trafficking, but likely not charged with anything related to Skaggs’ death. If there was, in fact, a second supplier to Skaggs while in Texas, that person would be the one facing charges related to the accidental overdose.

And with so many details coming out, it seems that we’ve opened a Pandora’s box of more questions:

  • How much did the team really know about Skaggs’ opiate addiction?
  • Did Tim Mead ignore Eric Kay, or is Kay trying to shift some focus/blame to people higher up in the Angels organization?
  • Was there really a second dealer involved?
  • Will anyone actually face charges in Skaggs’ death?
  • Will there be stricter drug testing in place for players, even with an already (supposedly) strict banned substance policy?
  • What are teams doing to address non-PED drug use among players?

With testing for so many banned substances already in place, it’s highly unlikely that a team would have missed such heavy opioid use if Kay is telling the truth about Skaggs. So I’m curious, readers… Do you think the Angels knew?

What say you, readers? Leave a comment below.