NL Central Links: Garza, Cubs, Lohse, Pujols

With the Cubs and Brewers both more than 14.5 games out of first place, the NL Central figures to be the source of plenty of rumors this summer. Both teams have an ample amount of trade chips that should ultimately exchange hands. Here's the latest out of the division…

  • The Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Orioles and Blue Jays all had scouts on hand to watch Matt Garza's dominant start against the Brewers today, tweets MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
  • Cubs president Theo Epstein told ESPN Chicago's Sahadev Sharma that he owes it to the organization to explore trades of Garza and the team's veteran players to improve the future. Garza added that he doesn't pay attention to rumors.
  • From that same piece, Epstein said that trading for additional pool space in this year's international free agency market isn't a huge priority, though he didn't specifically deny rumors that the Cubs are looking to acquire additional funds. For those who don't recall, the new CBA will allow teams to trade international spending money.
  • Teams have ramped up their evaluations of Kyle Lohse to determine if he's a worthwhile trade target, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
  • Albert Pujols told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that St. Louis is still a special place for him and it made him the person that he is today. The longtime Cardinal said he's slightly bitter about the way the front office handled his departure, though he declined to get into specifics on the topic.

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