Tragedy struck Major League Baseball in July when former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs unexpectedly passed away at the age of 27.
Nearly two months went by before a cause of death was determined. An autopsy at the end of August eventually revealed Skaggs died from a combination of opioids and alcohol in his system.
Disturbing details have since emerged that allege Skaggs obtained those drugs from Angels director of communications Eric Kay.
He admitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration that he sold opioids to Skaggs over the years and revealed that multiple Angels employees were aware of his addiction. Kay also speculated that as many as five additional players are using the narcotics.
MLB now plans to further investigate Skaggs’ death and is searching for answers on how to prevent a similar situation from playing out in the future.
“I think it’s something that definitely requires deeper examination and something I’m sure Major League Baseball and the Players Union will spend a lot of time huddling on,” Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.
“Obviously it was a tragic loss, and if there’s anything we can do as an organization to prevent that, it’s on us to make sure we do that. What that means, I don’t know.”
While MLB has prioritized cracking down on performance-enhancement substances in recent years, drugs of abuse such as opioids are not currently subject to testing.
That could soon change, as MLB is in early talks to install regular opioid testing for all 30 organizations. Their goal is to begin the process as soon as this offseason.
It goes without saying that Skaggs’ death was a devastating loss for baseball. Tributes immediately poured in from all over the league, but perhaps the most memorable was when the Angels tossed a combined no-hitter in his honor against the Seattle Mariners on July 12.
The 13-0 win took place at Angel Stadium in what marked the club’s first home game since Skaggs’ passing. A handful of Dodgers players including Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen were amazed by the performance and took to social media to share their thoughts.