Michael Cuddyer graces the cover of this year's GM Handbook from TwinsCentric and, not surprisingly, is a big focus throughout.
For the last few years, TwinsCentric has introduced their Offseason GM Handbook to the masses. This year the layout is more refined, the content more focused, but here's what matters: it's more than 130 pages of straight up baseball nerdery. And it's all concentrated on the Minnesota Twins.
There's a lot here that's familiar. This season's welcome is a quasi-crabby introduction from Patrick Reusse, which is great. Then there's payroll analysis for next season (What? There's money to spend?), analysis on the 40-man roster (which is always a favorite of mine over the winter), organizational depth charts. Player evaluations and grades, info on arbitration eligibles, free agent information and potential trade targets.
And of course everyone's favorite off-season activity: rosterbation. John, Nick, Parker and Seth each put forward their own blueprint for 2012. Oddly enough a couple of them don't look like teams that would be much better than the one we finished with. Parker's was my favorite, although I'm hoping there's a better decision to be made than Derrek Lee.
Towards the back of the handbook there's a section called Player Development. It's an interesting section, and it's the only one I can't decide whether I like it or not. Essentially it's an informal poll of players throughout the Twins organization, where Seth (I'm assuming it's Seth, but it may well have been one of the other guys) asked one question: What do you plan on working on this offseason?
I like this section because this is supposed to be a GM's Handbook to the Minnesota Twins' offseason, and so as the GM you would have some idea of what will be happening with your guys over the winter. But at the same time it feels like it was bolted onto the existing template that's become the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook. I can't quite put my finger on it, whether it's a design or feel or content issue, but it doesn't have the same finished product feel as the rest of the handbook.
In conclusion, TwinsCentric has once again put together a comprehensive, well-researched, good-looking handbook that will prepare even the most hardcore of Twins fanatics for the 2011-2012 offseason. It's approachable whether you're a "stat-head", more old school, or just a casual fan. Could you get a lot of this stuff around the rest of the blogosphere for free over the coming months? Definitely. You'll get it right here. But the appeal of the handbook is that it's all available right now. And it's produced by four quality Twins bloggers who, as a group, are prolific writers year around. The depth that they've gone into with this handbook, and the work that's clearly been put into it, stand out. It's great as a tool for your own study of the upcoming winter and the decisions and parameters facing the front office, but it's also a fantastic resource that you'll be able to reference all winter long.
Head on over to TwinsCentric to place your order for the eBook. For $9.99, you won't find a publication of higher quality to give you exactly what you crave for one of the most exciting times of the baseball year.