When a trade is made and a new component is added to a team, you're never really sure how it's going to work. Most of the time the fresh face moves seamlessly in to the flow of the franchise's every day activities.
Sometimes the new guy becomes a leader like Matt Kemp and James Shields have for the Padres. What a team really hopes does not happen is the deal upsets clubhouse chemistry. So when San Diego made a deal to get closer Craig Kimbrel on the eve of Opening Day there was a risk that some of the good will and companionship the Friars had built up during Spring Training would erode.
General Manager A.J. Preller said he looked at Kimbrel's make up before the deal and didn't think the 4-time All-Star's personality would be a problem. He was right, and then some.
Kimbrel, who brings a 98-MPH fastball and a frisbee slider to the mound with him, has already become a clubhouse favorite, and not just because of his production.
Kimbrel has converted all six of his save chances in 2015, but even more important than that, he's brought some serious attitude to the back end of the Padres bullpen.
The kid from Hunstville, AL, made a good impression when he struck out the side in Los Angeles in his first Padres appearance.
He made a great impression when he brushed back Giants outfielder Angel Pagan after Pagan tossed gum at San Diego catcher Derek Norris, sparking a little verbal confrontation. That let everybody in the Padres organization know, if you have an SD on your cap, Craig Kimbrel has your back.
In that Giants game Kimbrel worked a scoreless inning and walked off the mound staring in to the San Francisco dugout, letting them know the Padres would NOT be pushed around by the defending World Series champs.
After getting the save on Sunday to salvage one of the three games against the Dodgers, Padres manager Bud Black discussed the impact Kimbrel has had in just 20 games in San Diego.
As the popular TV ad says, every kiss begins with Kay. With Kimbrel working the 9th, the Padres could say every win ends with a K.