Angels Could Be Subject To MLB Sanctions, Fines In Skaggs Case
The Angels "could face significant sanctions" if MLB "determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs' opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn't inform the commissioner's office," according to T.J. Quinn of ESPN.com. Angels Dir of Communications Eric Kay, who is currently on paid leave, told DEA agents last month that two team employees, including his former supervisor, Tim Mead, who is now president of the Baseball HOF, were "informed of Skaggs' drug use but did not take action." Under MLB policy, any team employee who is not 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 states MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "could fine the club" up to $2M, and it "gives him discretion to suspend an employee or ban him or her from MLB for life." Despite Kay's allegations, an Angels spokesperson on Saturday said that the team was "never aware of Skaggs' drug use." A source said that Manfred's office has "only media accounts to go on right now and will have to make a judgment as to whether Mead or Kay and his family are telling the truth." The source "would not speculate on how much the Angels could be fined, but said it would be 'more serious' if someone high up in the organization had been told." The source added that MLB is "not currently conducting its own investigation and is instead waiting for the DEA to finish" (ESPN.com, 10/15).
CASTING A WIDE NET: In L.A., Mike DiGiovanna cites a source as saying that DEA agents have "interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation" into Skaggs' death. A representative for P Trevor Cahill "confirmed that his client was questioned" last month. A source said that Ps Andrew Heaney, Noe Ramirez and Matt Harvey "also were questioned." The names of the other two players questioned are "not known." Sources said that the players "weren't targeted for any specific reason or suspected of using opiates or implicated in any potential crime." Sources said that the DEA agents "hoped the players might be able to shed light on whether the use of opiates was prevalent in the clubhouse, if they ever saw players using illegal narcotics on team flights and if they knew how Skaggs procured drugs" (L.A. TIMES, 10/16).
TOO EARLY TO TELL: A handful of legal experts said that the Angels "could theoretically be held liable -- and therefore subject to pay Skaggs' family millions of dollars -- but there are several steps before that could be considered." In California, Jeff Fletcher noted even if a suit is filed, the "most likely outcome would be a settlement, because neither side would be eager for a trial" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/15).