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Cheap? Twins among biggest, most active off-season free agent spenders

The Twins haven’t made a free agent splash this offseason like the one the Padres made with Manny Machado.

But their series of ripples, which included a two-year, $21 million deal for Marwin Gonzalez on Friday, have added up to a stark fact that might run contrary to the popular narrative about the team’s management and its ownership.

The deal means the Twins have signed five major league free agents this offseason, committing a total of $48.6 million to Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, Martin Perez and Blake Parker.

According to Spotrac, that means the Twins are tied with the Yankees and Angels for the fourth-most free agents signed so far this offseason. Three others are tied for the lead with six.

And the Twins are No. 8 in total free agent spending this offseason with that $48.6 million commitment (most of which is going toward the 2019 payroll since only Gonzalez got more than a one-year deal out of the five).

There are certain factors in play here, including Joe Mauer’s $23 million per season coming off the books and giving the Twins some payroll flexibility while the rest of the league is slow to sign free agents.

But if your instinct is to criticize the Twins for not doing enough this offseason, the evidence so far suggests otherwise.

They are, in fact, among the most active and biggest spenders in baseball.

List of MLB's 100 best players is an indictment of Twins' farm system

Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where you can always count on the Wild to salvage something from a bad sports night. Let’s get to it:

*Keeping in mind that this list is purely subjective, we can still find some troubling nuggets within Sports Illustrated’s compilation of the 100 best players currently in MLB.

On the list, we find just two Twins players: pitcher Jose Berrios at No. 95 and new slugger Nelson Cruz at No. 64. We also find one former Twins prospect, Aaron Hicks, at No. 78.

Now, on one hand maybe we should give the Twins a little more credit for the Cruz signing than fans seem to be inclined to do. It’s not a stretch to say he immediately became their best player given his track record.

But what does it say about the current crop of homegrown Twins that the best (and only) one on their roster checks in at No. 95, while one they dealt away in the infamous John Ryan Murphy deal sits above all of them?

It’s a bad look for their development and decisions. The Twins can only hope this list looks a lot different next year and beyond.

*The Wild broke its five-game losing streak with a 4-1 win at the Rangers on Thursday, creeping back (at least for now) into the second wild card spot, one point ahead of three teams.

The victory at least gave the Wild a chance to pivot and helped Minnesota fans avoid a trifecta of misery after the Gophers men’s hoops team was outclassed by Michigan and the women’s squad blew a seven-point lead in the final minute of a heartbreaking loss at Maryland.

But the Wild would be wise to bank two more points against the lowly Red Wings in Friday’s back-to-back finale. After this one, the Wild faces, in order: the red-hot Blues … then the Jets, Flames, Predators (twice) and Lightning. That’s a gauntlet featuring some of the NHL’s best teams.

*Speaking of teams that need to bank a win Friday, the Wolves are playing the 11-47 Knicks in New York. If you think that record is bad, consider the Knicks are just 2-26 in their last 28. Even if Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t end up suiting up, Minnesota needs this one coming out of the break — particularly while staring at a back-to-back in Milwaukee on Saturday.

*Old friend Ervin Santana took a minor league deal with a camp invite from the White Sox, per Jon Heyman.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Twins (ss) vs. Baltimore (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Gophers women's hockey at Bemidji State

    3:07 pm

  • Notre Dame at Gophers men's hockey

    4:30 pm on FSN, 103.5/1130

  • Tampa Bay vs. Twins (ss) (spring training)

    5:05 pm

  • Timberwolves at Milwaukee

    7:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Twins vs. Boston (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 830-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball at Rutgers

    5:30 pm on BTN, 103.5/1130

  • St. Louis at Wild

    6 pm on NBCSN, 100.3-FM

  • Baltimore vs. Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Sacramento at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Pittsburgh vs. Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on 830-AM

  • Wild at Winnipeg

    7:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Twins vs. Philadelphia (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Timberwolves at Atlanta

    6:30 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at Rutgers

    5:30 pm on BTN, 96.7-FM

  • Twins vs. Tampa Bay (spring training)

    5:35 pm

  • Timberwolves at Indiana

    6 pm on TNT, 830-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball at Northwestern

    8 pm on ESPN2, 100.3-FM

  • Boston vs. Twins (spring training)

    12:05 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Arizona State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN, 103.5/1130

  • Twins vs. Washington (spring training)

    12:05 pm

  • Loons at Vancouver

    5 pm on FSN, 1500-AM

  • Arizona State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 103.5/1130

Today's Scoreboard

  • Minnesota

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    2

    7

  • NY Yankees

    Boston

     

    - F

    5

    8

  • St. Louis

    Miami

     

    - F

    11

    1

  • Pittsburgh

    Philadelphia

     

    - F

    3

    2

  • Detroit

    Toronto

     

    - F

    4

    0

  • Atlanta

    NY Mets

     

    - F

    3

    4

  • Milwaukee

    Chicago Cubs

     

    - F

    4

    8

  • LA Dodgers

    Chicago White Sox

     

    - F

    7

    6

  • Cleveland

    Cincinnati

     

    - F

    3

    3

  • Texas

    Kansas City

     

    - F

    1

    9

  • Chicago White Sox

    Oakland

     

    - F

    5

    6

  • Colorado

    Arizona

     

    - F

    7

    3

  • San Francisco

    LA Angels

     

    - F

    3

    10

  • San Diego

    Seattle

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Tampa Bay

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    5

    10

  • Houston

    Washington

     

    - Bot 8th

    6

    5

No NFL games today

  • Portland

    Philadelphia

     

    - F

    130

    115

  • Memphis

    Cleveland

     

    - 4th, 0:17

    105

    110

  • Brooklyn

    Charlotte

     

    - 4th, 0:39

    117

    115

  • Indiana

    Washington

     

    - 4th, 0:27

    115

    112

  • Phoenix

    Atlanta

     

    - 4th, 0:58

    109

    113

  • LA Lakers

    New Orleans

     

    - 4th, 0:47

    115

    128

  • Detroit

    Miami

     

    - 3rd, 2:31

    77

    68

  • Boston

    Chicago

     

    - 3rd, 6:55

    60

    84

  • Sacramento

    Oklahoma City

     

    - 3rd, 10:12

    65

    53

  • Minnesota

    Milwaukee

     

    - 2nd, 3:28

    60

    63

  • Houston

    Golden State

     

    - 2nd, 6:43

    48

    30

  • Dallas

    Utah

    9:00 PM

  • Washington

    Buffalo

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • New Jersey

    NY Rangers

     

    - F

    2

    5

  • Boston

    St. Louis

     

    - F

    1

    2

  • Carolina

    Dallas

     

    - F

    3

    0

  • San Jose

    Columbus

     

    - F

    0

    4

  • Los Angeles

    Florida

     

    - F

    1

    6

  • Colorado

    Nashville

     

    - F

    5

    0

  • Montreal

    Toronto

     

    - 3rd, 13:02

    3

    3

  • Pittsburgh

    Philadelphia

     

    - 2nd, 13:11

    1

    1

  • NY Islanders

    Vancouver

    9:00 PM

  • Anaheim

    Edmonton

    9:00 PM

No MLS games today