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Under Further Review – This week, a look at the Jays with the MLB trade deadline looming, plus the opening of NFL training camp and a few summer leftovers. Editor’s Note – After all, it is summer so the blog may be intermittent over the next several weeks.  There’s golf to be played and steaks to be BBQ’d!!

MLB Trade Deadline – The Blue Jays are positioned to be major players at the MLB trade deadline. There is only one deadline this year and that’s 4pm Eastern on Wednesday so if any team is looking to add for a long playoff run, they will have to pull the string immediately.

The Jays appear ready to be very active. Pitcher Marcus Stroman has probably made his last start for the Jays. Closer Ken Giles is also on the block along with two other relievers, Daniel Hudson and David Phelps plus infielders Eric Sogard, Freddie Galvis and first baseman Justin Smoak. Galvis and Smoak may not move unless the Jays receive a good offer or they are part of a larger deal.

Unless the Giants and Indians make Madison Bumgarner and Trevor Bauer available, the top starting pitcher on the market will be Stroman and there should be a long lineup of interested teams. Stroman is having a career year and we all know what a bulldog he has been in the playoffs. I would not hesitate to go after the guy.  Forget about the histrionics, Stroman can pitch! It’s hard to gauge his value but I don’t see the Jays getting a return like the Rays got last year for Chris Archer.  Outfielder Austin Meadows is hitting over .300 with power and starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow is a 6’8”, 230 pound, flame-throwing right-hander who was 6-and-1 with a 1.86 ERA before going on the DL.

One trade partner could be the Atlanta Braves who are now being guided by former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.  He drafted Stroman in the first round in 2012 but may actually be coveting Jays closer Ken Giles and reserve infielder Eric Sogard.  The Braves can afford to deal because they have one of the most bountiful minor league systems in the majors.  They have two outfielders and two starting pitchers in the MLB Top-100 prospects – OF Cristian Pache (#11), OF Drew Waters (#27), RHP Ian Anderson (#34) and RHP Kyle Wright (#38). It would make sense for the Jays to try and pry one of those guys loose in a deal for Stroman or Giles.

Anthopoulos has admitted he learned a lot of lessons with the Blue Jays and one of them is patience. He learned that sometimes it’s better to try and make players better by focusing on player development rather than trading them too early.  Hello Noah Syndergard!  Now, more than ever, Anthopoulos better understands how to construct a team.  Talent can be overrated.  If you get the right mix of players and they play together well, then the sum of the parts can be something special. It appears as though one of the best moves Anthopoulos has made to date is taking a flyer on former Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson.  After a slow start, Donaldson has been mashing the baseball.  That decision is looking very good now.

NFL Camps Open – There’s always a lull on the sports calendar during the summer but that all changed this week with the start of NFL training camps. The Seahawks have the most enviable training camp locations in the NFL, right on the shores of Lake Washington in Renton. They opened camp with tons of optimism and while I think they are on the rise with a ton of young talent, you have to wonder how they will start the season without the likes of Earl Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Frank Clark and Jarran Reed.  All four are All-Pros. Seattle’s defense will take the biggest hit and the loss of Reed to a six-game suspension only compounds the problems. Getting middle linebacker Bobby Wagner signed to a three-year extension avoids the potential for a holdout so that was good news.

I will do a more extensive NFL preview in the coming weeks but it’s safe to say the Seahawks will have several interesting position battles, most notably at safety, tight end, receiver and defensive line. The running game should again be at the top of the league with the tandem of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. No team has a better one-two punch than Seattle.

Leftovers – The Cubs must be regretting the lavish signing of pitcher Yu Darvish two seasons ago.  Darvish signed a five-year, $126 million dollar deal and it took him 552 days to get his first win at Wrigley Field.  A fine investment!

It was great to see Ireland’s Shane Lowry become an instant folk hero in winning the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Rory McIlroy gave into the pressure so it was nice to see Lowry step up and satisfy the thirst for a local champion.  We all know that story here in Canada where a Canadian hasn’t won the Canadian Open since Pat Fletcher in 1954.  McIlroy took a quad on the opening hole of the tournament and never recovered.  Felt terrible for the guy. Tiger and Phil both missed the cut at the Open.  It was the first time that they both missed the cut together in 83 majors.

How about the amazing Aaron Rodgers of the Packers?  Playing behind a porous offensive line last year, Rodgers was sacked a total of 49 times yet he threw only two interceptions.  Amazing!

The best new name in the NFL this season may be Chargers rookie QB Easton Stick, a fifth round pick out of North Dakota State. Hey, if he doesn’t find a home in the NFL, he should come up to the CFL where his name will catch on with hockey fans for sure.

Joni and Bob – We leave you with a little something out of the archives from a house party at Gordon Lightfoot’s place in Toronto back in the 1960’s.  Here’s Joni Mitchell performing ‘Coyote’ with Bob Dylan and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds in tow.