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Inbox: What are the A's offseason plans?

Beat reporter Jane Lee answers fans' questions
MLB.com @JaneMLB

I've been a big fan of the A's since the Bash Brothers' days. I really love the way they handle the organization as a blue-collar team. With September coming, who might be the next prospects to get called up to the big league club?
-- Mark V., South Hackensack, N.J.

Prospects Franklin Barreto and Renato Nunez headline the list of Minor League players expected to be promoted in September. Barreto, of course, is the A's top prospect and likely second baseman of the future. He got a taste of the big leagues when Jed Lowrie was out of action earlier this summer before returning to Triple-A Nashville, and he's been on a tear of late, hitting .349 in August. 

I've been a big fan of the A's since the Bash Brothers' days. I really love the way they handle the organization as a blue-collar team. With September coming, who might be the next prospects to get called up to the big league club?
-- Mark V., South Hackensack, N.J.

Prospects Franklin Barreto and Renato Nunez headline the list of Minor League players expected to be promoted in September. Barreto, of course, is the A's top prospect and likely second baseman of the future. He got a taste of the big leagues when Jed Lowrie was out of action earlier this summer before returning to Triple-A Nashville, and he's been on a tear of late, hitting .349 in August. 

• A's Top 30 Prospects

Nunez, meanwhile, brings exciting power to the table. Though left behind while the likes of Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder were brought up to Oakland this year, Nunez rebounded from a sluggish 2016 season with Nashville and has 32 home runs this year, second most in all of the Minors. Nunez, though without a position to call his own with the A's, hopes his bat forces their hand this offseason: he must remain on Oakland's 25-man roster next season or be exposed to waivers.

:: Submit a question to the A's Inbox ::

Will Jake Smolinski get called up when rosters expand in September, and will he get some at-bats?
-- Eddie C., Diggins, Mo.

That's the plan. Smolinski has been rehabbing his surgically repaired right shoulder all season, but he's been able to see game action in a limited designated hitter role during his Minor League rehab stint. Smolinski is still going through the motions of a throwing program, so it's unlikely that we see him in the outfield before season's end, but he could certainly get some at-bats with the A's in September, following a grueling summer of rehabilitation.

Video: OAK@ARI: Smolinski drives home Semien with RBI double

Now that Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle are gone, I cannot think of an A's player currently signed to a long-term deal. With that in mind, do you see any chance Oakland will make a big splash in the free-agent market in the offseason, perhaps addressing an apparent top of the rotation vacancy?
-- Janet K., Los Gatos, Calif.

The A's have no players signed beyond 2018 -- when Matt Joyce and Santiago Casilla's contracts expire -- and they aren't necessarily interested in handing out long-term pacts during a time when their stadium situation remains in limbo.

Only when a new site is not only secured but marked will the A's baseball operations department begin making its own investments, it seems. That means this club will largely be stocked with players making the league minimum while it carries out a rebuild that will span who knows how many years -- not big-name players who are owed big money.

We've been concerned about and praying for Mark Kotsay's daughter. Any word on how she and the family are doing? We haven't heard anything for quite a while.
-- Dale W., Anderson, Calif.

Kotsay, who lives with his family less than two hours from Angel Stadium, has been around the team during each of the A's past two trips to Anaheim, most recently this week. Oakland's bench coach said his daughter, Sienna, who is experiencing partial vision loss in her right eye after being struck by a tennis ball within close range, is doing much better and in good spirits. That's great news for their family, and Kotsay plans to maintain his leave of absence through the end of the season to stay with them.

Do the A's plan on using Daniel Mengden as a starter or a reliever? Oakland has a surplus of starters, and I could see him as a great reliever.
-- Alfonso G., Santa Rosa, Calif.

The A's did have a surplus of starters when the season began, but their rotation depth is now lacking greatly. It's easily their biggest area of concern heading into the offseason; an honest look at their Minor League system reveals slim pickings within the upper rankings, and their current crop of young arms -- namely Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton and Daniel Gossett -- has had its ups and downs, presenting some concerns.

Video: OAK@CLE: Mengden freezes Santana in the 2nd inning

All that to say it's probably best Mengden remains a starter on reserve, since teams can never have enough of them. The bullpen, of course, is also in dire need of help, which will presumably be addressed in an offseason that could be -- and should be -- defined by pitching upgrades.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics, Franklin Barreto, Daniel Mengden, Renato Nunez, Jake Smolinski