At one time, Matt Harvey was considered one of baseball’s best pitchers. From 2012-15, Harvey dazzled with the New York Mets before a quick drop-off led him to journeyman status. Since the start of the 2018 season, Harvey has played for five different teams, including the Los Angeles Angels.
Harvey’s tenure with the Angels lasted just one season, posting a 7.09 ERA over 59.2 innings pitched in 2019. The 2019 season was a tumultuous one for the Angels, as it featured the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs due to a drug overdose on July 1 of that year.
Over two years following his death, Eric Kay — a communications director for the Angels at the time — has been put on trial for distributing the fentanyl that led to Skaggs’ death. Over a tense eight-day trial, former Angels like Harvey spoke out about Kay’s drug distribution and a culture of drug usage within the Angels organization.
Harvey admitted — with immunity from the federal government — that he provided opioids to Skaggs on several occasions throughout the 2019 season. While he cannot be prosecuted for anything he said during his testimony, MLB is allowed to take whatever action it sees fit.
This could potentially lead to a punishment for Harvey once the lockout is over, according to T.J. Quinn of ESPN:
If Matt Harvey can find a team willing to sign him, he could immediately be suspended for at least 60 days for saying that he provided opioids to Tyler Skaggs on several occasions, a Major League Baseball official told ESPN on Wednesday.
Harvey would likely have struggled to find a team willing to sign him without the possible suspension. Over the last four seasons, Harvey is 16-31 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.477 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9 while averaging just under 4.2 innings per appearance.
A 60-day or greater suspension could be too big of a burden for MLB teams to take a chance. However, Harvey will be just 33 when the 2022 season begins, so a team willing to sign him is not out of the cards entirely.
Kay found guilty
Kay was found guilty on both counts charged against him, including distributing counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl resulting in death, as well as conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. Sentencing will take place on June 28, where Kay faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.