I don't get the "the Twins never do anything" argument.
First, I think it's unfair to compare 2016 and before to the present. Sure, the owner is the same and that matters a lot, but it's Falvey and Levine in the chairs now rather than their predecessors.
Second, I'd love to have someone smarter than me (which means many of you) do a serious analysis of their transactions since coming on board and measure how many "wins" and "losses" they've had. I tend to be an optimist, but it seems to me like they've had a lot more wins than losses. And one can't quantify these, but it seems like they've also had plenty of "wins" in the "pass" category as well (Darvish, most of the relievers in last winter's class, as it turns out).
Third, I don't know whether this is a legitimate way to quantify things, but I did a search for "traded" in MLB.com's list of July 2018 transactions. It showed up 52 times. Each trade needs two partners, so that's 104. Divide by 30 and you get that teams, on average, made about 3.5 trades. The Twins made seven. In 2017, there were 62 trades, so an average of just over 4 trades per team. The Twins made five, and remember that they seemed to spend much of 2017 in "analysis" mode. That is at least suggesting that it's possible that the Twins make more transactions than average, at least during July.
Fourth, in addition to making more than an average number of trades over the past two Julys, I'd also suggest that that in both seasons, they made the right type of trade for their context. If they've done that the past two years, what is to suggest that they won't do it again this year?
In addition, in this very unscientific study, it also seems worth noting that in 2017, 30 of the 62 trades happened on July 26 or later (and another 5 on the 24th). In 2018, 36 of the 52 trades happened on July 26 or later, including 23 (close to half) on the 30th and 31st alone. In both years, trades were made throughout the month, but it takes two to tango, and the reality is that over the past two years, 58 percent of the trades were made in the last six days of the month.
We don't know what effect not having waiver trades this year will make. We also can "make an offer they can't refuse," but that's pretty synonymous with "give up more than you need to," which doesn't seem to be this front office's mindset. But based on history, I'll be surprised if the team (read "pitching staff" doesn't look significantly different three weeks from Thursday.