With baseball’s trade deadline less than a week away, Canada’s major-league club finds itself in legitimate contention — and prepared to buy players with some of that money we keep giving Ted Rogers.

The shopping list for the stretch drive:

1.) A starting pitcher, which means the Blue Jays will contact Florida about Dontrelle Willis, Oakland about Barry Zito, San Diego about Chan Ho Park, Washington about Livan Hernandez and Tony Armas, the Cubs about Greg Maddux and maybe Minnesota about Brad Radke. (All these pitchers are available in trades for prospects.)


2.) A shortstop. Nothing against John McDonald — I mean, he has a decent glove and the same name as our first Prime Minister and everything — but he supplies the Jays with absolutely zilch offensively. Julio Lugo can hit and Tampa Bay will deal him.

• Daisuke Matsuzaka is Japan’s best pitcher since Hideo Nomo and if the Seibu Lions allow him to become a free agent, he’ll attract more money and more major-league offers than any player next winter ... Former Jays star Shawn Green, in Arizona’s doghouse, likely will be traded this week, probably to Detroit ... Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay gets most of the attention when it comes to Canadian big-leaguers, but check out the stats of Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Baltimore’s Erik Bedard and tell me they’re not bona fide all-stars.

• I’m told Wayne and Janet Gretzky were high rolling recently at the tables in Las Vegas. It was their first visit to the gambling mecca since Operation Slapshot back in February ... Daniel Briere’s good, but how does an arbitrator award him $5-million when he wasn’t even making $2-million with Buffalo last season? ... In the NBA, Fred Jones is better than John Salmons, meaning the Raptors got lucky the latter rejected them ... Running backs are dime a dozen, especially in the CFL. Antonio Warren, not long ago a CFL star, peeved off B.C. coach Wally Buono, so some guy named Joe Smith replaced him and promptly led the Lions to a victory. Now Warren’s on the trade block ... Rest assured Ricky Williams has played his final game with the Argonauts, even if he recovers quickly from arm surgery. Despite being the most overhyped player in CFL history, the Argos finally realize they’re better off with John Avery and Jeff Johnson and, barring injuries, will go with them the rest of the season ... Believe this: Doug Flutie will sooner or later be back with the Argos, either as a coach or a player/coach.

Marty York’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen for Marty on The ROCK 94.9 FM, Monday and Friday at 8:40 a.m.