MLB Plans to Investigate Accusation Angels Tied to Death of Tyler Skaggs

With the news on Friday that Tyler Skaggs' death was caused by choking on his vomit combined with a toxic mix of alcohol and powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, attention has now fallen onto the Angels' organization. Skaggs' family has hired attorney Rusty Hardin to determine how the drugs were obtained and to see if the MLB franchise is at fault. A member of the team was reportedly involved as the potential supplier of the drugs.

As it turns out, the Southlake Police and Skaggs' family are not the only ones investigating his death. Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney told AP News that the league was unaware of the allegations against the Angels employee and would be conducting an investigation of its own.

While this could potentially lead to other shocking news, it won't affect the preparation of the Angels. Team general manager, Billy Eppler says the team will cooperate while preparing for upcoming games.

“Everyone in the organization wants facts, which is why we are actively cooperating with an investigation,” Eppler said. “We miss Tyler every day. That clubhouse misses him every day.

“Nothing we learned today changes those feelings. Not one bit. But this is like a shot to our core. And it brings back a lot of pain for that tragic day.”

Of course, one issue surrounding the MLB investigation is that the league wouldn’t necessarily have been testing Skaggs for the drugs found in his system. According to AP News, Players on 40-man rosters are tested for these types of drugs only if the player-management joint treatment board finds a reasonable cause. For example, a player having used or possessed a drug of abuse or being under treatment would be subject to testing. Skaggs did not fit these parameters.

Part of the investigation into the Angels organization will invoke questions as to whether or not the team was aware of any potential issues. Did Eppler and co. know that Skaggs or any other players were trying to obtain opioids? There could be obvious concerns about leadership and the team culture in general.

In answer to that question – and many others – Eppler is being upfront about his knowledge or lack thereof. As he explained to reporters, he isn't trained in the art of detecting opioid addictions.

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“You read about opioids being an issue culturally and of course post-surgically for athletes,” Ausmus said. “I can’t say I have ever seen it or notice it being a problem, not that I am qualified to recognize the signs. I would say no. I haven’t really seen it.”

Whether this investigation by MLB leads anywhere remains to be seen, but Skaggs' family will assuredly be keeping track of all ongoing probes into whether or not the Angels were involved in his untimely death.