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Updated: August 31, 2010, 2:00 AM ET

Brian Fuentes a bigger add than Manny Ramirez

Kruk By John Kruk
ESPN
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With a little more than one month left in the regular season, the faces of the American League Central are undergoing makeovers for the stretch run. Manny Ramirez is set to make his debut with the White Sox on Tuesday, and the Twins added left-hander Brian Fuentes from the Angels this past Friday.

The White Sox can score runs, but they haven't received much production out of their DH spot. And they aren't a big home run-hitting team, except for Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin. As a proven slugger, Manny definitely will be an upgrade in the DH spot as long as he performs like the Manny of 2008, when he first joined the Dodgers, and not the Manny of this year.

[+] EnlargeManny Ramirez
AP Photo/Jeffrey PhelpsManny Ramirez waved goodbye to the Dodgers. On Tuesday, he says hello to the White Sox.

Ramirez certainly will help the White Sox, but their more pressing need is relief pitching, especially with J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton going on the DL. If you can't get a pitcher at the waiver deadline, the next best thing to do is to get offense, and that's the direction they went by acquiring Ramirez. I think having Ramirez for 30 days is better than having Ramirez for a year and 30 days. For the first 30 days, he's going to be a good soldier. He's in a new environment, and it takes longer than 30 days to get comfortable. Ultimately, I don't think he has enough time to really irk his teammates, manager and front-office personnel.

Everyone is worried about how Ozzie Guillen and Manny will mesh, but I think they will be fine. Over the years, Manny has been spoiled because he always has been such a talented player. Everyone seemed to be afraid to discipline him. Manny can single-handedly win games for you, and there aren't many guys who can do that. However, it's time the whole "Manny being Manny" thing comes to an end. No one has ever questioned his work ethic; it's just he makes dumb mistakes on the field and doesn't hustle all the time. He's been prone to take games off just because he didn't feel like playing, and it alienates his teammates.

Guillen treats each player the same -- no matter how young or old. If you don't play well, he's going to tell you. Guillen is not going to ask Manny to play the field, but he will expect him to make four at-bats and run hard. If that's too much for him to do as a DH, maybe it's time for Ramirez to quit. Guillen is not the type of manager to put up with Manny's shenanigans, and he won't tolerate mistakes. Guillen's approach in Chicago is completely different than anywhere else Manny has played.

The Twins, meanwhile, got the pitcher the White Sox probably could have used, especially after Bobby Jenks coughed up a three-run lead against the Indians on Monday night. Minnesota doesn't really know when Justin Morneau is coming back. Even though the Twins have a huge unknown on offense, they pursued a reliever in Fuentes. They already have Matt Capps, Jon Rauch and Jesse Crain. Not to mention they are going to get Joe Nathan back some time next year. If they keep all these guys together, you're looking at a strong bullpen for 2011.

The reason Minnesota went with Fuentes is simple: When Fuentes lost his closer job to Manny Corpas in 2008 in Colorado, never once did you hear Fuentes complain. He was always ready to help the team. Now that he's in Minnesota, he is ready to do whatever is necessary to get to the World Series. He's the definition of what the Twins are all about. Ron Gardenhire isn't married to one closer, and the team will buy into that. The lack of egos in the clubhouse is the greatest thing about the Twins' organization.

Examining both acquisitions, Minnesota got the better deal. I worry about an offensive player coming in during the last month of the season. A situational pitcher who can close games, like Fuentes, adds another dimension to help you win more games than one guy at the plate. If Manny gets hot, you can pitch around him. You can't pitch around Fuentes. It is a much easier task to take the game out of Manny's hands, but you can't take it from Fuentes. This situation could either go as great as you can imagine for the White Sox or become a nightmare.

John Kruk is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."

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