The common gripe about the Minnesota Twins over the years is that the team's ownership hasn't paid the price to field a competitive team on a yearly basis. In the early stages of this offseason, the Twins whiffed on several high-profile free-agents to improve their team, which led to plenty of frustrations among Twins fans.
As the anger toward the Pohlad family grew, so did the confusion over how a team that won 101 games, but was swept by the New York Yankees in the postseason, refused to do what it took financially to upgrade their roster.
While the pitching staff remains reliant on holdovers and low-risk, high-reward free agent signings, the signing of Josh Donaldson changed the Twins' outlook and made them one of the biggest spenders in the American League this winter.
According to a report by MLB Trade Rumors' Connor Byrne, the Twins ranked fourth in free agent spending after forking out $151.8 million this winter. That number is skewed by the $92 million signing of Donaldson, but so too are the teams ahead of them in the list including the landing spots of Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Yasmani Grandal.
- New York Yankees $336.5 million (two players)
- Los Angeles Angels $260.85 million (three players)
- Chicago White Sox $196.5 million (six players)
- Minnesota Twins $151.8 million (eight players)
- Toronto Blue Jays $114.35 million (four players)
While the Twins added the most players out of any team in the AL in free agency, Minnesota has also added the most quality talent with four signings of players off MLB Trade Rumors' Top 50 Free Agents list, the second-most behind the White Sox, who signed five.
Twins fans would have loved to seen a bigger-name starting pitcher be part of their free-agent haul, but the front office duo of President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine has done a solid job (on paper) of addressing this team's flaws including their infield defense (Donaldson), improving the bullpen (Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard) and finding a cheaper backup to Mitch Garver (Alex Avila).
This number also doesn't include Miguel Sano's three-year extension that could be worth up to $44 million if a fourth-year option is exercised and the possibility of a long-term extension for Jose Berrios (which is examined here by Twins Daily's Cody Christie), who is currently scheduled to go to arbitration with the team.
Of course, the one gripe is about the starting rotation which showed plenty of effort courting Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but came up empty-handed. Still, the Twins wound up throwing a combined $47.8 million at the problem (which could grow to $57.2 if Rich Hill hits his incentives) and could add even more salary if they take on another name via trade in the coming weeks.
For a team whose richest free-agent contract coming into this season was a four-year, $54 million pact with Ervin Santana in 2014, the spending appears to have finally caught up for the Twins. The question is now whether it's enough to keep them in the top echelon of American League contenders.