There's not much in the way of substantial news items in Twins-land, so today I'll just touch on a few tidbits...
* As expected, the Twins announced last week that manager Ron Gardenhire had been handed a two-year extension which will keep him as the Minnesota skipper through the 2011 season. There are plenty out there who aren't particularly fond of Gardy as the Twins' manager, but I'm a results-based guy and he has gotten results, leading the team to a 622-512 record over his seven years at the helm despite a consistently young and fluctuating roster. Though his tactical managing can be frustrating, I think Gardenhire does a fine job overall and is one of the upper-echelon managers in the league.
* The Twins have reportedly made an official offer to free agent third baseman Casey Blake. This news is surely horrifying to some, but I'm alright with it, provided the terms are reasonable. There are several other teams vying for Blake's services, so the fact that the Twins have submitted "the framework of an offer" is hardly a sign that they're close to signing him. Nevertheless, this is probably the first offseason rumor we've seen that appears to have some actual meat to it.
* Damn Gophers.
* I'm sure just about everyone who reads this blog is familiar with Seth Stohs, tireless author of SethSpeaks.net. Seth has recently been compiling a book called the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2009, which features over 175 profiles of prospects in the Twins' system as well as a foreword from our beloved Pat Neshek.
While there are plenty of bloggers out there with prospect savvy, I don't think anyone out there can measure up to Seth. Unlike many who formulate opinions on a young player simply by glancing over a stat sheet, Seth also attains knowledge from speaking with scouts, coaches and even the players themselves. If I'm on the prowl for information on minor-league players in the Twins' system, there is not one single source I would go to before Seth Stohs.
For anyone looking to brush up on the organization's up-and-coming prospects or just looking for a good baseball-related read for a cold winter day, I highly recommend supporting Seth and pre-ordering a copy (and maybe one for your friend!).
I've already got my copy pre-ordered, you can do the same by visiting this page.
* On a related note, one other book I've been meaning to recommend is Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year That Changed Baseball Forever. The book is written by Minnesota native (and lifelong Twins fan) John Rosengren, and it chronicles the compelling 1973 season, in which Hank Aaron was chasing Ruth's home run record, baseball fans were being introduced to the designated hitter rule, and Reggie Jackson was being... well, Reggie Jackson. A fine read for any baseball fan as the weather gets cold and curling up on the couch with a book begins to look like a more and more attractive way to spend your Saturday.