Arraez makes smooth transition from Marlins to Padres since trade nearly a month ago

Less than a month after the Miami Marlins traded Luis Arraez, one image expresses a library of volumes about the quick impression he made on his new team.

At the southeast entrance to Petco Park, the San Diego Padres’ home field, a picture features the National League’s defending batting champion holding his bat on his left shoulder, looking into the distance with determination.

That determination, along with his offensive skills and dynamic personality, have endeared Arraez to his new teammates after he arrived May 4 for four minor-leaguers.

”What’s really important, especially from my seat, quite candidly, is the guy that comes in and brings that drive and enthusiasm and desire to compete and win,” said Padres manager Mike Shildt, who spoke with Marlins manager Skip Schumaker once both teams executed the trade.

.”I talked with Skippy, whom I respect, and he spoke in glowing terms about the kind of competitor, the kind of guy he is in the clubhouse, and he’s been nothing but right,” Shildt said. “This guy is as advertised. He’s got residual value beyond just what he does with the bat in his hand, which is pretty tremendous.”

Part of that value lies in his constant enthusiasm.

”He’s a very good guy, a very good teammate,” said Padres infielder Donovan Solano, the Marlins’ starting second baseman in 2013 and 2014.

“As soon as he arrived, he was bringing that positive energy into the clubhouse every time. When we see Arraez at that high level of energy, everybody’s involved. Everybody’s on the same page.

”It’s very important for us to come here every single day with the energy to try to win. He can pass that energy along to everybody.”

Arraez passes that energy not only to his teammates. He gave it to a security guard through a fist pump, to a young fan by signing a ball and to a female fan by posing for a picture with her.

”He tries to win but at the same time, he’s so humble,” Solano said. “He’s just like a kid playing baseball.”

Arraez’s former teammates expressed their appreciation during their recent series in San Diego. They greeted him warmly before the first game of the series Monday. Nick Gordon exchanged hugs with him before Tuesday night’s game.

”Emotional,” Arraez said about his reception. “It was emotional when I saw Skip. He’s one of my favorite managers. When I saw J.B. [Jake Burger], (Bryan) De La Cruz, Jon Jay, it was so emotional for me. That was amazing. The good thing is that we’re still friends. We’ll just continue to talk or text.”

When Arraez singled Monday in the bottom of the third inning, first baseman Josh Bell gave him a strong hug when he arrived at first base.

”I’m happy for him,” Bell said. “It seems like they’re going to be in the hunt. I couldn’t ask for a better situation for him to be in.”

Given Arraez’s offensive skills, the Padres feel the same. On Tuesday, the National League named Arraez its player of the week after he hit .472, compiled an OPS of 1.083, hit two doubles and a home run, drove in four runs and stole a base.

Since coming to San Diego, Arraez has compiled a .371 average, a .448 slugging percentage and an .842 OPS with five doubles, a home run and nine RBI in 24 games through Tuesday.

Entering Wednesday’s play, Arraez ranks second among the National League’s hitters with a .332 average, just six points behind the Los Angeles DodgersMookie Betts.

”The one thing I always noticed was that he was always putting the ball in play and putting pressure on the defense,” said the Padres’ Jake Cronenworth, who played against Arraez in the minor leaguesand the American League. “It’s an innate ability that he has, and it seems like that’s what he thrives on.”That ability incorporates several factors.

“What makes him unique is this wonderful blend of his work and his swing,” Shildt said. “He’s got a really short, compact swing. He sees the ball exceptionally well and sees the ball early. Then he also has a real clarity of what they’re trying to do to him, so he’s got a real plan. Then he uses the whole big field out there as his canvas to paint. You put those combinations together and you’re going to have an elite hitter. It’s not an easy combination put together, for sure.”

Arraez believes Petco Park’s atmosphere helps. Tuesday night’s game marked the Padres’ 17th sellout in 30 home dates.

”When I saw the people, the fans coming to support us, they just gave me a lot of energy, like when I played in the World Baseball Classic in Miami,” he said. “This is everything for us. This stadium is our energy.”

Given Arraez talent and personality, he could become the Padres’ 21st Century’s version of the biggest star in their history, according to Fernando Tatis Jr., the team’s young slugger.

“As Tatis said before, it’s almost like you’re seeing Tony Gwynn today,” Solano said. “Every time he gets to the plate, you expect a base hit. He brings that confidence.”