TOKYO: Prince Fielder (R) of the Milwaukee Brewers shares high fives with students as he leaves after visiting Minamisuna Junior High School as part of the Major League Baseball (MLB) International Ambassador program to promote the game of baseball in Tokyo Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
With the Cubs trading for a young first baseman, they would seem to have less need than ever for the last great free agent on the market.
Friday's trade -- Anthony Rizzo's now a Chicago Cub; Andrew Cashner, a San Diego Padre -- will obviously have ripple effects. With Rizzo gone, first base in San Diego would seem to be recent arrival Yonder Alonso's to lose. Meanwhile, Jedstein presumably wouldn't have traded for Rizzo unless they thought he, in turn, is an excellent candidate to play first base for the Cubs. If not on Opening Day, at some point in 2012.
And if the Cubs have a first baseman, perhaps that means we can remove that franchise from the list of Prince Fielder's suitors. Which still leaves ... which clubs, exactly?
We can't know, exactly. Thursday, Jon Heyman listed eight other teams that might be involved, or might get involved, in negotiations: Nationals, Mariners, Brewers, Marlins, Rangers, Orioles, Blue Jays.
Heyman also lists Mystery Team ... while admitting he doesn't actually know there's a mystery team. But this way, if another team does get involved, he's covered his bases. Of course, everybody still seems to think the only team that's really interested in Prince Fielder -- for the years and the money Fielder and his agent are casting -- is those Washington Nationals. If so, that giant list of suitors is essentially the latest Scott Boras Insurance Plan.
Boras has played this game many times, and no one plays it better. But it still looks like the Nationals are big favorites to land the big fish, with the Mariners and Mystery Team tied for second, distantly.