I haven't seen it written anywhere, but I wouldn't be surprised if Dan O'Dowd and Beane have discussed Mark Ellis this offseason.
I think that a deal involving Ellis - specifically, Ellis to the Rockies - represents the team's best and most likely trading opportunity for the remainder of this offseason.
None of those four options - Quintanilla, Barmes, Giles, or Walker - are ones that a playoff team wants to trot out to second place.
I'm not saying Ellis isn't good, or worthwhile. Quite the contrary. But given Colorado's dire need at the position, and that the A's and Rockies are currently at opposite ends of "The Winning Cycle", I think it's a match that should be explored. The Rockies SHOULD be willing to give up quite a bit for him; more than the two ~No. 50-100 overall picks he'd probably yield if the A's kept him this year, offered arbitration, and let him get to free agency (keep in mind, those draft picks have to be offered signing bonuses, while any prospects the A's get in a trade do not; that should enter the equation, too. I'm also guessing that if Ellis qualified as a type A free agent, no team would sacrifice their unprotected No. 16-30 overall pick for him. That's why I'm assuming the sandwich pick and the second rounder).
I'd be very curious what the AN community thinks the A's could get back in return from the Rockies for Ellis.
I also think that Blanton won't be moved this offseason. For one thing, the phrase "Joe Blanton, Opening Day Starter", and the slight increase in exposure he'll receive next year, will add a bit to his value. But more importantly, teams just aren't valuing him enough yet.
I think Blanton will actually be more valuable mid-season. A lot of NL teams who are currently deluding themselves into believing that the "rehabbing has-been" class of FA starters will be enough to get them into contention will have to face reality.
When Bartolo Colon, Matt Clement, Jon Lieber, etc. break down again for some NL team next year, Blanton becomes their last best hope to improve their rotation. When Kyle Lohse proves to be Kyle Lohse, or when Pedro Martinez and El Duque break down and the Mets are in shambles...THAT'S when Beane can really hold NL teams hostage with Blanton.
Right now, it seems like NL teams are very content with the gambles they're taking at the back end of their rotation.
But in July, when Santana and Bedard have likely already been moved, and there are no free-agent gambles left to take, and several NL "contenders" (potential 85 win teams) have massive holes in their rotations...that's when Blanton's health, consistency, and 3.80 ERA will look most apetizing. Not in December, when every team still has a chance, Bartolo Colon might reclaim his Cy Young form, and Mark Prior might turn back time. When reality hits early in the season, Blanton will have more value.
What do you guys think? Is it possible that Blanton is in higher demand in June-July than he is now? And what would you want from Colorado in return for Mark Ellis?