Neal: Twins have been asleep, but history says things about to happen

Bubba Thompson, Ryan Jensen and Josh Staumont are the Twins' biggest acquisitions of the offseason.

It is fair to respond these moves by thinking, "Is this team even trying to compete in 2024?"

There is no proof that the Twins want to build on a season in which they ended an 18-game losing streak in the playoffs and won their first postseason series in 21 years.

But you can read this now and believe me later: The Twins' front office will augment the roster with credible additions before the first regular season pitch is thrown.

They want to. They need to. And this is their time of year.

Until now, the biggest news of the offseason is that Joe Mauer has been elected to the Hall of Fame. And Mauer's moment is spilling into the Twins Caravan this week, the Hot Stove banquet that was held on Wednesday in West St. Paul, the Diamond Awards banquet held on Thursday and TwinsFest this weekend. It has baseball fans looking ahead the spring training. We should not be looking ahead if this is the best Derek Falvey and the baseball wizards at 1 Twins Way have in store for us.

Yes, they have been hampered by not knowing how much television revenue is coming their way in 2024. They have chosen, though, to be more than deliberate with their roster building. So, in turn, they have chosen to upend all the goodwill and momentum they built in winning the AL Central division four months ago.

The Twins have an emerging young core of position players. Royce Lewis. Edouard Julien. Alex Kirilloff is still only 26 years old. Another, Forest Lake's Matt Wallner, was ranked ninth among the best left fielders in the game by MLB Network — after just 94 major league games. Jose Miranda is just 25 and has time to turn things around. This team should be adding to push for a longer postseason run, not subtracting.

They had a deep starting rotation last season for the first time in forever, and then allowed Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda to depart via free agency. They are kidding themselves if they think entering the season with Pablo López, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Chris Paddack and Louie Varland (if manager Rocco doesn't move him to the bullpen) is enough to repeat last season's success.

There is time to regain this lost momentum. Don't burn your Homer Hankies just yet.

In my time as a beat writer, I used New Year's Day as a mental checkpoint. It meant that in just over a month, I would be in Fort Myers for spring training and away from this icebox. (Well, it used to be an icebox.)

This is when the offseason ends and the preseason begins, for me. And, apparently, for Falvey. There have been January surprises — Josh Donaldson, 2020; Carlos Correa, a year ago — but Falvey's pattern has become a dull offseason followed by a preseason rally.

Jake Odorizzi, Marwin González and Kenta Maeda were acquired in February. Deals involving Mitch Garver and Sonny Gray went down in March.

And it was a year ago this week when Luis Arraez was dealt to Florida for López.

With history as a guide, let's plan on a noteworthy deal in the coming weeks.

One highlight of Rocco Baldelli's appearance on KFAN on Wednesday is that he fell victim to host Dan Barreiro's disarming interview style and nearly uttered a profanity on air during a lighthearted moment. The other came when Baldelli was asked about potential moves.

"I would bet on it because we have always done something almost every year between this part of the offseason and the beginning of spring training; we have made significant moves," he said. "A lot of these things get forgotten ... but we end up doing something."

Unless they make news before the weekend is over, TwinsFest will come and go without the club unveiling a new player to help the cause. Celebrating Mauer's election to the Hall of Fame will be the highlight of the week.

But the preseason is when they are at their deal-making best, and that time of the year is nearly here. They have tradeable assets in Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Kyle Farmer. They could move one or two of those players, toss in a prospect and add another quality starter.

So feel free, Mr. Falvey, to see if you can bring in López's former Miami teammate Jesús Luzardo to plop into the rotation.