they made smart moves that put them in position to start a turnaround this year. People don't seem to want to acknowledge it, but they WERE in position. They signed major free agents.
Major free agents, plural? I only see Nolasco.
The only other one who could remotely be considered "major" was Hughes, and I like him and his deal but it's hard to see 3/24 on the open market qualifying as "major" in the context of modern MLB. His contract was 18th in total value this offseason, something like 28th in AAV. Maybe he was major to the Twins but that's primarily due to the sorry state of their SP corps and their other recent FA SP acquisitions.
And that's a big reason why I don't view the 2014 season as a product of bad luck for the Twins. They basically did the bare minimum to patch the MLB rotation, and did absolutely nothing for the offense except hope for prospects who had yet to play at AAA (or even AA in the case of Buxton). This after they did less than the bare minimum in the FA market for 2013, and probably even 2012 too.
(As an aside, Nolasco himself was weak as far as "major" FAs go: an innings eater, the least-regarded of a group seeking 4- to 5-year deals, the earliest to sign, the one with an agent friendly with the Twins front office... I don't know if it rises to the level of gross mismanagement, but the Twins haven't put much effort into -- or gotten much production out of -- free agency.)