Dave Dombrowski warned this might be painful.

So, how come you barely felt a pinch?

The Red Sox completed a trade Friday night for a 27-year-old four-time All-Star closer with at least two years left on his contract and the third-best average fastball velocity among all relievers in the majors this past season. And it didn’t cost them a single player on the major league roster or a prospect whose future in the organization wasn’t blocked by a 23-year-old rising star.

Craig Kimbrel wasn’t exactly a steal, of course. In prying him away from the San Diego Padres, the Sox gave up four minor leaguers from a farm system they worked so hard to ripen. Touted center fielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra are top-five prospects by any measure, while left-hander Logan Allen and infielder Carlos Asuaje have shown promise.

But Margot plays the same position as Mookie Betts. Guerra recently turned 20 and, after one full season of pro ball, is light years from usurping Xander Bogaerts. Between them, Margot and Guerra represent the positional surplus that Dombrowski has alluded to since he was hired as Red Sox president of baseball operations in August. And for a Red Sox team that can’t afford a third consecutive last-place finish, they were eminently expendable.

“You don’t ever like to give up young talent,” Dombrowski said on a conference call. “We think they’re very talented individuals. But I do think with the good job that the people in player-development, scouting, international operations have done, we do have some depth at those positions. In addition to that, I think the real key for us is that we made this acquisition in acknowledging that we didn’t give anything up at the major-league level to affect our club this year.”

Instead, they got a pitcher who figures to instantly make them better.

For as much as the Sox need to acquire a proven No. 1 starter — “a horse,” in Dombrowski’s words — fixing the bullpen poses an even greater challenge. They didn’t necessarily need a closer — Koji Uehara posted a 2.23 ERA and 25 saves in 27 chances this season — but there’s no denying their severe lack of power arms or that Uehara will turn 41 in April and is coming off a fractured right wrist.

Kimbrel provides the Sox with a flame-thrower in the ninth inning and bumps Uehara back to the eighth, a role that he told manager John Farrell he’s more than willing to play. It also allows setup man Junichi Tazawa to pitch in the seventh inning and gives the Sox a potential late-inning trio that can stand up to the Kansas City Royals’ 2015 model of Ryan Madson, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis.

In six seasons with the Atlanta Braves and Padres, Kimbrel has a 1.63 ERA and 225 saves and has averaged 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings, second in the majors since 2010 behind only Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. Kimbrel also throws in the upper-90s, with a 2015 average of 97.3 mph that trailed only Chapman and Pittsburgh’s Arquimedes Caminero.

And if there was any question about whether Kimbrel is a fit for pressure-packed Boston, new senior vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren knows him well, having drafted him in Atlanta in 2008.

“(Kimbrel) is perfectly healthy. He feels great. He’s in the prime of his career — he’s 27,” Dombrowski said. “Our last scouting reports, which were late in the year in September, he was throwing 97-99 at that time with the good breaking ball. He’s been consistent throughout his career. He’s at the prime time, and so we look for him to be our guy back there for years to come.”

Indeed, Kimbrel is signed for $11 million next year, $13 million in 2017 and has a $13 million club option for 2018, at which time he will have just turned 30.

The Sox looked into acquiring Kimbrel before the trade deadline, but the Padres apparently weren’t ready to give up the ghost on competing for a playoff spot. Talks were renewed shortly after the season ended, according to Dombrowski, and heated up this week at the general managers’ meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.

Friday morning, Padres GM A.J. Preller phoned Dombrowski to complete the deal pending a review of medical information.

“Being moved to the American League, I’m excited,” said Kimbrel, who has been traded twice in the past seven months. “It’s a league of big bats, and as a pitcher you want to have the opportunity to face those big bats. It’s a challenge in itself and I’m looking forward to it.”

Now, Dombrowski can look ahead to acquiring his No. 1 starter, something he says he most likely will do through the free agent market. There’s some pain associated with that, too, but only to principal owner John Henry, who will have to swallow hard, overcome his aversion to long-term contracts for pitchers in their 30s and shell out big bucks for the likes of David Price, Johnny Cueto or Zack Greinke.

Kimbrel? He cost the Red Sox only a few young players who might wind up having long big-league careers but probably weren’t going to play in Boston.

And that doesn’t hurt a bit.

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