Report: Angels employee Eric Kay provided, did drugs with Tyler Skaggs
New information in the case of Tyler Skaggs’ death was reported on Saturday that provides more background on the matter and shares the role a Los Angeles Angels team employee played in the matter.
Skaggs died on July 1 while the Angels were in Texas to face the Rangers after choking on his vomit. An autopsy revealed the presence of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in the pitcher’s system. After the autopsy report was made public in late August, Skaggs’ family released a statement saying they were investigating the potential involvement of an Angels employee in Skaggs’ death.
Now we know what was going on.
According to a report published by ESPN Outside the Lines’ TJ Quinn, Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications, told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he provided and abused oxycodone with Skaggs. Kay also reportedly told investigators that he knew of at least five other Angels players who were using opiates. Moreover, Kay says at least two other Angels employees knew about Skaggs’ drug use long before the pitcher’s death this year.
According to Quinn’s report, Kay was a drug hookup for Skaggs and had been obtaining them for the pitcher for at least two years. Quinn’s report says Skaggs would send Venmo payments to Kay ranging from $150-$600 for the drugs.
Kay reportedly illegally obtained six oxycodone pills prior to the Angels’ trip to Texas and gave three of them to Skaggs. Kay did not believe the pills he provided to Skaggs were the ones the pitcher took the day he died. The reason is Skaggs typically ingested the pills immediately after receiving them from Kay and Skaggs also messaged Kay seeking more pills the day the team left for Texas.
Kay says Skaggs messaged him to come to the pitcher’s room the day Skaggs died. Kay told investigators Skaggs snorted three lines of crushed substances — two of which Kay believed could have been oxycodone. Kay did not recognize the third line.
Kay began abusing opioids in 1998 after the death of his father, according to Kay’s mother. Kay, 45, has been with the Angels since 1996. He is in outpatient treatment for substance abuse and has been placed on paid leave from the Angels, per Quinn.
Kay was hospitalized in April for a drug overdose and reportedly was messaged by Skaggs at the time, who was seeking drugs.
Kay told investigators that Angels longtime Vice President of Communications, Tim Mead, who now works with the Baseball Hall of Fame, had known about Skaggs’ drug use since 2017. Kay told investigators that a second Angels employee knew of Skaggs’ drug use.
An Angels spokesperson told ESPN that they were “shocked” to hear the report and denied the team knew about Skaggs’ drug use.
MLB teams officials are required to report any knowledge of drug use by a player to the commissioner’s office immediately. Quinn reports that no report was ever made to the league office.