Yesterday, I took a look at the potential offensive contributions of Nick Johnson and Josh Willingham. While they looked similar, with Nick having a chance at a higher peak, an astute reader pointed out that defensively it isn’t close. Of course it’s never that simple. Because if you plan on starting Nick, you have to take into account the fact that your starter may not play. Moving a player in and out of the starting lineup can really mess up the whole, you know, mojo or what not. It’s those intangibles that a stat geek like me can’t quite put a finger on. And hey, maybe at first base, Willingham would be a better defender. One little interesting caveat about defense is that first base is the least important position, unless you screw it up. And I am mistrustful of most stats that use defense because I’m not sure people know how best to quantify it. But maybe that’s neither here nor there. The point is definitely true that all things being equal offensively, Nick is a very good defender at first, while Willingham is at best average, but perhaps worse out in left field.
Anyway the question for Nats fans is: who should be playing in that first base/outfield area? This is one of the big questions for the offseason, so I’m very curious what the fans would do if they were in Manny’s shoes.
Let’s assume that Nick Johnson is only a first baseman. Also assume that Dmitri Young isn’t there yet. He hasn’t shown he can play, and I don’t want to make a 20 question poll, so count him out. Also Dunn and Willingham are 1B or LF, they can’t play CF or RF. Kearns, Milledge and Dukes can play CF or RF if you really want.