Oh, what I'd give to see a 162-game season out of Nick Johnson. I'll bet a bundle the numbers would be good and you can't even quantify the difference it would make having a real first baseman playing first rather than a butcher. Well, I guess some serious stat crunchers could. I can't.
The thought of a lineup with Zimmerman, Dunn and Johnson in the middle is interesting. I'd love to see it work. You can go Dunn, Milledge, Dukes across the outfield, have Willingham as the fourth outfielder. He'd get plenty of time, I suppose, since Dukes seems like a guy who is always going to miss time here and there with an injury. Kearns? Well, it doesn't look as if there will be room.
But the injury history with Johnson just screams that this is a major risk. Suppose you move some of those parts and - like clockwork - he gets hurt again? Three weeks turns into three months, or three months turns into the rest of the season. Can you take that chance? While the lineup might not be quite as good, it seems like much less of a risk to put Dunn at first and go Willingham, Milledge, Dukes with Kearns as the fourth. Or am I nuts (again)?
If you do make a move and count on Johnson and he gets hurt, are any of the outfield prospects seriously ready? Is Maxwell for real? I don't see Bernadina as any kind of long-term answer.