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Melvin happy to keep strong outfield corps intact

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A's general manager Billy Beane is adamant about keeping all of his starting pitchers, rather than dangling them as trade bait. The plan, as it currently stands, is similar in regard to his surplus of outfielders -- and manager Bob Melvin expects all to be in tow come spring.

The A's boast five above-average outfielders on their roster in Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Chris Young and Seth Smith, which has produced speculation that one -- Crisp has been at the forefront of such rumors -- could be on the move this winter and help the club land a shortstop. Not so fast, say Beane and Melvin.

"I think the at-bats are there for all of them to get 400, 450 at-bats," Melvin said in his media session Monday at the Winter Meetings. "It's just a matter of finding the right time, the right spot, and potentially allowing for injury, too. It does look like we're a little full in those positions. But as we saw last year, there are a lot of guys that contribute, and I think that will be the case this year, and we have the at-bats for all these guys at this point.

"We do have the DH spot that we can rotate these guys through. It gives us the option to rest some guys a little bit more, whether it's Yoenis, who was a little bit run down at the end, and we can rest Coco a little bit."

Cespedes and Crisp combined to miss 75 games this year, and Young's ability to spell both of them should help prevent that from becoming a trend. Melvin is quite familiar with Young, having managed the 29-year-old in Arizona while at the helm there, and Monday he offered insight into the role he envisions for Young.

"I think you probably more have to lead him off against lefties," Melvin said. "You look at him with the on-base numbers and so forth, probably not the prototypical leadoff guy, and Coco Crisp is about as good as it gets leading off. On a day off for Coco or something like that against a lefty, if it was a good matchup, and I wanted to get him up there another time or two in the game, he has experience doing it and he could do it again.

"He played very well for me his rookie year. He had over 30 home runs, led off for me. He hit fourth, fifth. He hit anywhere in the lineup. He's a talented guy that we think can really enhance our team both offensively and defensively."

Reddick, meanwhile, will guard right field on an everyday basis, while Smith figures to get most of his at-bats at DH, while making occasional appearances in left field.

"Having too many good players, that's never a problem," Melvin said.

Oakland Athletics, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Chris Young