NL Central Links: Kaepernick, Cubs, Rolen, Brewers

Colin Kaepernick is on the verge of a Super Bowl championship with the 49ers but he could've been a Chicago Cub after being drafted in the 43rd round of the 2009 amateur draft.  ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine has the story of how the Cubs took a flyer on Kaepernick, who reportedly had a 90-mph fastball as a right-handed pitching prospect. 

Here's the latest from the Cubs and elsewhere around the NL Central…

  • Theo Epstein feels his team has a greater need for young pitching than it does for position player prospects but that doesn't necessarily mean Chicago will choose a young arm with the second overall pick in June's amateur draft, the Cubs president told media (including CSNChicago.com's Patrick Mooney). "It’s interesting because in the history of the draft, the best bets up top are position players because of the uncertainty and the attrition and injury risk of pitchers," Epstein said.  "So those are pretty real trends over time. We’re going to take the best player available." 
  • The Reds hope to hear from Scott Rolen this week about the third baseman's playing future, GM Walt Jocketty told media (including Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer).  Rolen has been mulling retirement but has said that the Reds are his first choice if he does continue playing.
  • The Brewers have an internal budget of around $85MM for 2013, a significant drop from the team's record $101MM payroll from 2012, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes.  The drop has been attributed to management's desire to retain flexibility for future moves and an unwillingness to spend on what the Brewers felt was an overinflated pitching market.  Haudricourt hears from a source that the Brewers "lost several million dollars" in 2012.
  • With so many other NL teams making big moves this winter, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals will be able to stay in contention after a relatively quiet offseason.


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