Happy 63rd birthday to former Reds outfielder George Foster. A member of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine teams, Foster his 52 homers in 1977, a performance that won him the NL MVP Award. Foster's 52 home runs were the most hit in a season by any Major Leaguer between 1965 and 1997.
Here's the latest from the NL Central….
- Matt Garza "is exactly the type of guy we’d like to build around," Theo Epstein told reporters on Thursday, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Epstein said that rotation depth was a priority for the Cubs, which would seem to indicate the recent Garza trade rumors may be for naught. Epstein did say he would be "open-minded" about possibly moving assets like Garza or Sean Marshall, though in Marshall's case, Epstein said "if you have the best left-handed reliever in baseball, it’s hard to think about taking him out of that role."
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan argues it would be good for baseball if Albert Pujols "pulls a LeBron" and signs with the Cubs, since it would catalyze interest in him and his sport. The Cubs and Cardinals are both pursuing the free agent first baseman, though the Cubs’ level of interest remains unclear.
- Brandon Phillips had no new updates about the ongoing contract negotiations between he and the Reds, but he told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon that "I just want to be here forever like my idol, Barry Larkin." Phillips tweeted on Tuesday that talks were "moving in the right direction."
- The Astros let president of baseball operations Tal Smith go with just two weeks of severance pay after 35 years of service with the Astros, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- What does the Cubs' signing of David DeJesus mean for Tyler Colvin? Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago examines the question.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post