Reusse: Twins, White Sox will battle for basement

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 16, 2012 - 3:14 PM

While only Chicago's front office will admit to it, both teams are in rebuilding mode with no chance of making a run at the postseason.


White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Twins started competing on the Bloomington prairie in the spring of 1961. The Chicago White Sox are the only team with which the Twins have shared a grouping for the entirety of 51 seasons: American League (1961-68), AL West (1969-1993) and AL Central (1994-present).

The Twins and the White Sox had a bit of a rivalry early on. Chicago beat out the Twins by three games to finish second behind the Yankees in 1963. The White Sox were second by seven games to the pennant-winning Twins in 1965. The Twins and the White Sox were involved with Boston (the winner) and Detroit in the Great Race of 1967.

There wasn't much to offer from Twins vs. White Sox after that until the turn of the century. The teams were scoring runs in bundles and battling for the AL West lead in midsummer of 1977, before both ran out of pitching and faded.

The decade of 2001 to 2010 was different. The Twins won six Central titles, and lost a Game 163 to the White Sox in 2008. The White Sox won two division titles, the World Series in 2005 and finished second to the Twins three times.

The teams went to 2011 spring training with the highest payrolls in franchise histories: $128 million for the White Sox and $113 million for the Twins.

The White Sox offered the marketing slogan, "We're All In." The Twins settled for confident talk of an outstanding lineup 1 through 9, about two experienced closers to draw from in Joe Nathan and Matt Capps, and about a rotation that had six viable starters for five spots.

The White Sox fell to 79-83 and finished third, 16 games behind Detroit. The Twins were last at 63-99 and twice as many games behind the Tigers.

The White Sox and the Twins have gone in the same direction since then: downward in payroll and in veteran talent.

The process started last summer. The White Sox unloaded Edwin Jackson on July 27. The Twins gave away Delmon Young on Aug. 15.

This winter, the White Sox lost Mark Buehrle as a free agent and traded Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor for prospects. The Twins lost Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Nathan in free agency.

The result is the Twins will start spring training this weekend with a payroll a fraction below $100 million, and the White Sox will open with a payroll a fraction above $100 million.

White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams traded Santos to Toronto on Dec. 7 and said: "It is the start of a rebuilding.'' Later, the White Sox tried to back away from that theory, but they then turned around and traded Quentin to San Diego for prospects.

The Twins and Terry Ryan, back on the GM job after Bill Smith was fired Nov. 7, have looked at "rebuilding'' as the vilest 10-letter word in the language.

They have filled the roster with journeymen, as if plugging holes on a contender, rather than face this reality:

The Twins and the White Sox, after spending most of previous decade jockeying for position at the top of the AL Central, are likely to be sparring for fourth and fifth in 2012, and beyond.

Detroit will run away in the Central again. Cleveland and Kansas City have better and younger talent than the Twins and Chicago.

The Twins protest this assessment, by saying they can be back as contenders with healthy seasons from Justin Morneau (31 in May) and Joe Mauer (29 in April).

Really? What do the Twins think they are going to get from the battered M&M Boys?

2008: Combined 309 games with 32 home runs, 185 runs scored and 214 RBI. I don't think so.

2009: Combined 273 games with 58 home runs, 179 runs scored and 196 RBI. Not happening.

I'm saying, best case, Mauer and Morneau duplicate 2007: 266 games, 146 runs, 171 RBI, but with fewer home runs. Mauer might muscle up and get seven, but Morneau isn't hitting 31.

Would that durability and production from five years ago be enough to carry a subpar rotation, an uncertain bullpen, a mediocre infield and a depleted outfield into contention in the AL Central?

Answer: No.

I don't even think it would carry the Twins past the White Sox, which is a bad scenario, indeed.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 63 3rd Qtr 5:23
Golden State 60
Portland 53 3rd Qtr 6:35
LA Clippers 61
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 0 3rd Prd 14:45
Colorado 2
Montreal 0 3rd Prd
Anaheim 2
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 54 2nd Half 0:23
Illinois 63
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 30 2nd Half 19:33
Oregon 32 2nd Half
Oregon State 32
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question