Donald Fehr could return as MLBPA head due to Michael Weiner’s health

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reports that an old face could come back to the players’ union:

With the condition of cancer-stricken union chief Michael Weiner not improving, MLB Players Association officials have discussed the possibility of a return of his predecessor, NHLPA director Donald Fehr, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Fehr’s possible return — in some role, be it advisor, leader or something altogether different — would be very strange. He led the union at a very different time and when the issues between it and the league were very different. More significantly, the tone of the relationship was much different. It was often combative, and necessarily so given the times in which he ran the show. Part of his transition out of the MLBPA and the ascension of Michael Weiner, in my view, was an acknowledgement that those great battles of the past were over and a new, more collaborative effort was what was needed.

Fehr, of course, has gone on to lead the NHL player’s union, where battling was and continues to be more of the order of the day. As Passan notes, there is no indication that he’s ready to leave that job and no comment from anyone involved as to whether he’d come to assist the union.

The bigger takeaway here, however, is Weiner’s health. I’ve never met the man but all accounts of him I’ve ever heard have been incredibly positive. He’s a smart and thoughtful leader, well respected by his coworkers, the players he represents and the league with which he negotiates and, occasionally does battle.

Here’s hoping his battle with cancer is a successful one and that the reports of someone needing to take his place prove to be wrong.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.