NL Central Notes: Cubs, Theo, Garza, Pirates

While most in the baseball world will fly out to Queens for the upcoming All-Star festivities, Cubs president Theo Epstein will miss out on the fun and Pat LaFrieda's steak sandwiches in order to man the phones back in Chicago, writes Tom Ginnetti of the Sun-Times.  "These days, more is done on the cellphones,’’ Epstein said of trade talk.  "It’s almost harder to get things done when you’re at the All Star Game trying to find people."  Here's more out of the NL Central..

  • We've been hearing that the price tag on Matt Garza is rather high and with 18 days to go until the trade deadline, it hasn't dipped, according to Buster Olney of (on Twitter).
  • The Cubs have put a lot of work into their farm system in recent years and it appears to be in great shape, particularly with this year's addition of No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant, writes Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.
  • The Pirates' unpopular trade of Nate McLouth in 2009 has yielded tremendous results, writes Mike Petriello of (Insider subscription required).  While McLouth has been up-and-down in the four years since the deal, Pittsburgh landed promising pitchers Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton.

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