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How Many LF-1B-DH Can The A's Have At Once?

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Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Hyun-Soo Kim is a long way from being in left field at the Oakland Coliseum, but when you put together that Oakland is taking a long look at Kim, that the A's scouting report on him is glowing, and that reportedly several teams have concrete offers on the table for Kim's services, I think it's fair to say that the A's are taking a shot at landing the Korean free agent.

All of which suggests that either the A's intend to field a lineup of four left-fielders and three first basemen, or perhaps something has to give. Do the A's have the ability to field a 25-man roster, with additional pieces stashed at AAA for depth, if they were to add Kim? Or would the addition of Kim inherently signal a trade or release of a current Oakland player bereft of options?

If signed, Kim would join Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Yonder Alonso, and Billy Butler as "LF-1B-DH" players who cannot be sent to the minors. Jake Smolinski, Andrew Lambo, and Rangel Ravelo, while also potentially in this mix, can be optioned to AAA, as can Mark Canha if you're willing to stash him there despite his emerging success in 2015.

Let's have a look see, shall we? (Spoiler alert: we shall.) I am assuming that one of Danny Valencia or Brett Lawrie will be traded sometime this off-season. Let's imagine that it's Lawrie (though nothing changes, other than spelling "Valencia" L-a-w-r-i-e if Valencia is the one dealt).

projected lineup vs. RHP

C- Vogt
1B - Alonso
2B - Lowrie
SS - Semien
3B - Valencia
LF - Kim
CF - Burns
RF - Reddick
DH - Crisp
Bench - Phegley, Canha (some starts at DH), Butler, Fuld

projected lineup vs. LHP

C - Phegley
1B - Canha
2B - Lowrie
SS - Semien
3B - Valencia
LF - Kim
CF - Burns
RF - Reddick
DH - Butler
Bench - Vogt, Alonso, Crisp, Fuld

AAA depth: Smolinski, Lambo, Ravelo

Hey, it kind of works so long as you pencil Canha in for only 1/3 of the games, resign yourself to paying Butler $10M to DH 1/3 of the time, and start Smolinski at AAA along with Lambo and Ravelo. No worries: your Opening Day roster is hardly the one you will have all season if they are the healthy and productive ones there will be plenty of at bats to go around for guys like Canha and Smolinski.

Not only that, I really like both lineups. Look at the depth up and down the order as you slot them in as they might appear:

vs. RHP (I put four LHs in a row knowing that any can be pinch hit for against a LH reliever with Phegley/Canha/Butler, neutralizing some of the advantage of bringing a LH reliever in)

Burns - CF
Alonso - 1B
Kim - LF
Vogt - C
Reddick - RF
Valencia - 3B
Lowrie - 2B
Semien - SS
Crisp - DH

vs. LHP

Burns - CF
Lowrie - 2B
Phegley - C
Canha - 1B
Valencia - 3B
Butler - DH
Kim - LF
Semien - SS
Reddick - RF

Is this the A's plan if they actually do sign Hyun-Soo Kim? Or do they plan to do the unthinkable and let either Crisp or Butler go? Or would they trade someone from among the glut -- and if so who?