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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.