07/22/09 — Opinion -- Trade rumors swirling in Toronto

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Opinion -- Trade rumors swirling in Toronto

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on July 22, 2009 1:46 PM

As summer drags on and the start of college football season seems as tantalizingly far away (42 days) as Christmas in November, the world of sports isn't offering much to pass the time.

Here's a list of things I think I'm thinking while summer lingers on:

* The trade rumors continue to swirl around Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. If Halladay is moved it will likely be to Philadelphia or the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, Philly's lead in the National League East continues to grow and Toronto is insisting that the Phillies include talented rookie pitcher J.A. Happ in any deal for Halladay.

The Dodgers certainly have a need for a front-line starter like Halladay and they possess the prospects necessary to piece together an attractive offer in return.

Los Angeles also needs bullpen help and may decide to acquire a reliever or two instead of Halladay and the $23 million he's due over the next two years.

* Former Eastern Wayne shortstop Walker Gourley hasn't found the transition to minor league baseball to be an easy one so far. Gourley began the week hitting below .150 and had four hits in 31 at-bats with the Gulf Coast League Pirates.

Gourley didn't finish the season at Eastern Wayne with a .470 batting average without a wealth of God-given ability and a relentless work ethic. Once he earns consistent playing time and adjusts to the dramatic increase in the quality of pitching he's facing, I'm confident Gourley will be just fine.

* Michael Vick is once again a free man and can truly concentrate on football for the first time since being indicted on federal dogfighting charges in July of 2007.

At 29, Vick certainly has several more years of football left in his body. Whether he can return to the form he once displayed with the Atlanta Falcons remains to be seen.

In June, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Cleveland Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth indefinitely for pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter.

Don't expect Goodell to go any easier on Vick. A sudden reinstatement into the league for a convicted dog killer would be a PR nightmare the NFL wants no part of.

Vick and Goodell have yet to meet to discuss the quarterback's future but odds are the former Virginia Tech star won't be suiting up for an NFL franchise this fall. His best shot at taking the gridiron this season may be with the newly formed United Football League.

Talk about a humble step backwards for a guy who was once the highest-paid player in NFL history.