After nearly three hours of deliberation, a jury of 10 women and two men found Eric Kay guilty of distributing fentanyl that resulted in Tyler Skaggs’ death in 2019. The decision came on Thursday afternoon, giving Skaggs’ family a sense of closure three years after losing their son.
Tyler Skaggs was a 27-year old, left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels at the time of his death. Autopsy reports attributed his death to asphyxia due to choking on his own vomit. The autopsy report also found that he was under the influence of alcohol, fentanyl, and oxycodone.
Eric Kay was the Los Angeles Angels’ communications director at the time. Several months after Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room, Kay admitted to distributing opiates to several members of the Angels’ roster – Skaggs included. He was immediately indicted on charges.
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Now nearly two and a half years later, Kay has been convicted and the jury did so without wasting much time. He was immediately taken into custody with his family in the gallery, while Skaggs’ wife and mother were seen hugging and crying after the deliberation came to an end.
All in all, the trial took eight days from start to finish. Eight of Skaggs’ former teammates testified against Kay, five of which admitted to receiving opioids from Kay. One of those players was Matt Harvey, a former Angels pitcher that’s currently a 32-year-old free agent in the MLB.
Kay is currently scheduled for sentencing on June 28, just a few days before the three-year anniversary of Skaggs’ death – which occurred on July 1, 2019. His charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, but he could face up to life in prison if the judge goes that far.
We Never Got to See Tyler Skaggs Truly Develop in the MLB
Tyler Skaggs was a first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Angels in 2009. He made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing two earned runs in Arizona’s win. He spent two seasons with Arizona before being traded to the Angels in 2014.
As a member of the starting rotation in 2014, Skaggs had a 5-5 record before suffering a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery. The surgery left him off the baseball field until July 2016 – nearly two years after the initial injury. It put a major halt to his development in the MLB.
He was a big part of the Angels’ rotation between 2016 and 2019 but struggled to find his footing in the major leagues. He never had a winning season and missed a lot of time due to injury. He finished his career with a 28-38 record, 520.2 innings pitched, 476 strikeouts, and a 4.41 ERA.
His last MLB game was on June 29, 2019, against the Oakland Athletics – a few days before he passed. He pitched 4.1 innings and threw for five strikeouts, but his two earned runs resulted in a loss for the 27-year-old. He finished the 2019 season with a 7-7 record in 15 starts.
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It’s a shame what happened and Eric Kay deserves the punishment that’s coming. With that said, we’re thankful no one else passed away as a result of Kay’s bad decisions and horrible advice. For now, all we can do is wait for Kay’s sentencing, which will happen on June 28th.
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