Twins upgrade bullpen with Fuentes, Flores

While the second-place Chicago White Sox are in negotations with the Los Angeles Dodgers to try and acquire Manny Ramirez, the first-place Minnesota Twins have made a couple of pretty nice moves.

Most recently, the Twins traded for lefty reliever Brian Fuentes, who was the closer for the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels will receive a player-to-be-named-later. Earlier in the week, Minnesota got another lefty reliever in Randy Flores off waivers from Colorado.

Fuentes and Flores will replace injured southpaws Jose Mijares and Ron Mahay. Mahay is out for the season. Mijares is out for the next three weeks.

Fuentes, in particular, has been very good. After struggling to start the season, he has a 2.08 ERA since the All-Star break. He’s given up a run in just two appearances since June 20.

Fuentes’ numbers will only get better as a set-up man to closer Matt Capps, because the 35-year-old four-time All-Star has been absolutely untouchable against left-handed hitters to the tune of a .132 opponents’ batting average.

These are the kinds of moves you have to love. Considering the Twins gave up the second-best prospect in their system for Capps just makes a trade like the one for Fuentes look even better.

Flores made his Twins’ debut last night and it wasn’t very pretty. He allowed two hits and a walk while getting just one out before Matt Guerrier came in and induced an inning-ending double play.

The Twins are hoping to do for Flores what they did for Mahay, who was a struggling lefty specialist for Kansas City before his trade to the Twins last year.

Flores won’t be leaned on quite as heavily now that Fuentes is on the team. Both fill big voids created by injuries.

Fuentes may not be Manny (who is?). But he’ll be of the utmost importance during the Twins’ playoff push.