The Los Angeles Angels announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal to make Joe Maddon their next manager. From that sense, it should be an exciting day for the franchise. Maddon helped the Tampa Bay Rays - who didn't have a winning season in their brief franchise history before he arrived - win the American League pennant in 2008, and ended a 108-year World Series drought in 2016 as the Chicago Cubs manager.
Still, the tragic death of LHP Tyler Skaggs will likely define the calendar year for the organization.
This past weekend, ESPN's T.J. Quinn reported that an Angels team employee spoke to federal investigators and informed them that he not only provided and used oxycodone with Skaggs over the course of multiple seasons, but that two people within the Angels organization knew that Skaggs was abusing the drug.
Quinn added more specifics Wednesday, including saying that the Angels could be fined up to $2 million if they are found to have violated MLB policy:
"Eric Kay, currently on paid leave as the Angels' communications director, told federal drug enforcement agents last month that two team employees, including his former supervisor, Tim Mead, were informed of Skaggs' drug use but did not take action. Two sources familiar with the DEA investigation told Outside the Lines about Kay's statements to federal agents, which Kay's attorney, Michael Molfetta, then confirmed.
Under MLB policy, any team employee who isn't a player is obligated to inform the commissioner's office of "any evidence or reason to believe that a Player ... has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited" by MLB.
The policy says commissioner Rob Manfred could fine the club up to $2 million, and it gives him discretion to suspend an employee or ban him or her from MLB for life. An MLB source told Outside the Lines that Manfred's office never received such notification about Skaggs. MLB officials declined to comment."
Wednesday, Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times reported that federal investigators have spoken to six players that played on the 2019 Angels, including Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Heaney and Noe Ramirez. While DioGiovanna was careful to point out that none of those four former teammates of Skaggs were "targeted for any specific reason," it is noteworthy that they're all pitchers.
Skaggs, in the midst of his seventh major league season, was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, 2019. The 27-year-old's autopsy revealed that he had died from throwing up due to "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication."