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 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).
And that total doesn’t even include the $4.8 million the Twins gave power hitter C.J. Cron after grabbing him off waivers from Tampa Bay.
There are certain factors in play, including: 1) several expensive contracts, led by Joe Mauer’s $23 million per season, coming off the books and giving the Twins payroll flexibility and 2) the rest of MLB has been relatively 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. The Twins have had to go that route to bolster a roster filled with players very much in wait-and-see modes of their careers.
A recent SI.com list of the top 100 players in baseball this season underscores that reality. There were only two Twins on the list: Cruz, the power-hitting DH, at No. 64 … and Jose Berrios, the homegrown pitcher, at No. 95.
Maybe in a year or two that list will look a lot different and be dotted with other players the Twins developed. For now, it doesn’t help that the highest-ranking former Twins prospect on the list now plays for the Yankees (Aaron Hicks, No. 78).
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The Wild has played one of the easiest schedules in the Western Conference this season — a fact that’s about to change as things even out.
Minnesota’s next five games, starting Tuesday, are: at Winnipeg, at Calgary, Nashville (home and away) and at Tampa Bay. Those are four of the top teams in the NHL.
If the Wild can survive that gantlet and pocket enough points to remain relevant, its playoff chances will get a big boost. Conversely, a rough stretch could bury Minnesota.
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Luol Deng is a combined plus-75 in his past four games with the Timberwolves, meaning the Wolves have outscored opponents by that many points when he’s been on the court (a total of 122 minutes). Amazing what an opportunity can do for a player who was buried on the bench under Tom Thibodeau.
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Winter weather affected plenty of people this weekend, including the Gophers men’s gymnastics team. Team members tried to have a sense of humor about the arduous journey back from a Saturday meet in Nebraska in a series of Twitter posts, but the update shortly after 4 p.m. Sunday from Iowa indicated defeat: “Two buses, three hours on the side of the road, two hotels.”