The Dallas Stars have signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a $7 million http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-fred-warner-jersey , three-year contract extension.
The 26-year-old Johns had a career-best 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 75 games last season, his third in Dallas. He was the prospect acquired in a deal that brought Patrick Sharp from Chicago in 2015.
The deal for Johns was announced about an hour before the start of the NHL draft, which is being held in Dallas. Along with John Klingberg, Johns is part of a young core of defensemen the Stars hope can get the franchise back to the playoffs after a late-season collapse in 2017-18.
The 6-foot-4 native of Pennsylvania led the Stars with 155 blocked shots and 201 hits. Johns said he got his confidence back last season and ”learned how to play the game at the NHL level and play at a consistent level.”
General manager Jim Nill said Johns ”plays a very fast, physical game and is just starting to hit the prime of his career.”
Now that fan voting is finished, it’s a good time to take a hard look at All-Star Game selections.
Which players are worthy of participating July 17 in Washington, and who gets left out?
Let’s touch on this topic first: Shohei Ohtani is incredibly talented and fascinating to watch, but the Los Angeles Angels‘ two-way Japanese star simply hasn’t been on the field enough to earn a spot. Not at pitcher OR designated hitter.
Ohtani just returned to the lineup from an elbow injury that’s knocked him off the mound for now. He’s only made nine major league pitching starts Minkah Fitzpatrick Color Rush Jersey , and the Angels have limited his at-bats all season due to concerns about the rookie’s workload.
So while it would definitely be fun to see him in baseball’s summer showcase, there are several more deserving American League sluggers at DH. It wouldn’t be fair to deny one of them in favor of Ohtani. And he’s unavailable to pitch at this point.
Let him win his invitation next season with a fully healthy and productive first half. Or the year after that. Or whenever it happens.
Buzzkill, I know.
But even without Ohtani, there’s plenty to watch for leading up to the first All-Star Game in the nation’s capital since the Senators hosted at RFK Stadium in 1969.
Start with Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis. With more than 2,150 career hits, he’s poised to make an All-Star team for the first time in his 13th big league season.
Matt Kemp, Miles Mikolas and Mike Foltynewicz are enjoying feel-good comebacks.
Robinson Cano, the MVP of last year’s game, will sit this one out while serving a drug suspension.
Injuries may keep familiar stars such as Clayton Kershaw http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-anthony-averett-jersey , Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager from returning, but in their place should be exciting newcomers like Aaron Nola, Ozzie Albies, Alex Bregman and Eddie Rosario.
The American League has won five times in a row and is 17-3-1 in the last 21 years.
”I want to win. I always want to win. It’s not playing for home-field advantage anymore in the World Series, but all these guys are competitors and they want to win for their respective league,” said National League manager Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There’s a logjam at shortstop in the AL, and the NL bullpen is loaded.
That sort of thing is where it gets complicated: Each roster has 32 spots, with 12 going to pitchers. Every club must be represented Byron Maxwell Color Rush Jersey , too.
Online voting for the starters at each position ended at midnight Thursday, and the teams will be revealed Sunday night.
”I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a great experience,” said Houston’s AJ Hinch, who will manage the AL squad. ”It’s as casual a game as you’ll play with the biggest names on the stage, and all the attention that comes with it. It’s a big deal.”
Disregarding fan and player balloting, here are our picks:
FIRST BASE – Jose Abreu of the White Sox gets the start, barely nudging out Toronto switch-hitter Justin Smoak.
SECOND BASE – AL MVP Jose Altuve from the World Series champion Astros is backed up by 34-year-old Oakland veteran Jed Lowrie, whose first All-Star nod is probably long overdue.
SHORTSTOP – Cleveland whiz Francisco Lindor is in the lineup. Top trade target Manny Machado from lowly Baltimore, and Jean Segura from Seattle are on the bench. Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons of the Angels is really tough to leave out.
THIRD BASE – Jose Ramirez gives the Indians both starters on the left side of the infield. Bregman backs up at the hot corner http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kareem-martin-jersey , from Houston.
CATCHER – Wilson Ramos is a big reason the Rays are holding their own. Perennial pick Salvador Perez represents the struggling Royals despite his subpar season.
OUTFIELD – Angels star Mike Trout plays center, with Boston’s Mookie Betts in left and Yankees masher Aaron Judge in right. Reserves include Rosario from the Twins, Mitch Haniger from the Mariners, and Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers.
DESIGNATED HITTER – J.D. Martinez has been worth every penny during his first season in Boston. Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo and New York hulk Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s NL MVP, both still play the outfield sometimes, which helps. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz is a very difficult omission.
STARTING PITCHERS – Luis Severino is in line to become the first Yankees pitcher to start an All-Star Game since Roger Clemens in 2001. Other right-handers include Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton from Houston, plus Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer from Cleveland. The left-handers are Boston ace Chris Sale and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell. Seattle lefty James Paxton is our top pick to replace Verlander Kyle Freeland Colorado Rockies Jersey , who doesn’t plan to pitch in the All-Star Game because he’s scheduled to start two days before.
RELIEVERS – Four filthy closers in the bullpen: Yankees lefty Aroldis Chapman, plus right-handers Craig Kimbrel (Boston), Edwin Diaz (Seattle) and Blake Treinen (Oakland).
FIRST BASE – Braves cornerstone Freddie Freeman starts over Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, who overcame a miserable May with a monster June.
SECOND BASE – The unexpected starter at a competitive position is Scooter Gennett from the Reds. Right behind him are flashy Javier Baez from the Cubs and 21-year-old igniter Ozzie Albies from the surprising Braves.
SHORTSTOP – San Francisco pro Brandon Crawford is backed up by Colorado bopper Trevor Story.
THIRD BASE – No.