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Hardball Times Article

For the most part, the NL Central is a nice division to be in: the Pirates can be counted on to be a doormat, the Reds can be expected to hog all the aging middle relievers, and the Cubs can usually be relied upon to lose. Even the Astros, despite their recent success, don't seem like an imposing organization.

Then there are the Cardinals. They shouldn't be as great as they are, but Walt Jocketty just keeps making great moves. Not headline-grabbing ones, necessariy, though signing Chris Carpenter to an extension was that, but the solid types of moves that give you a good team every year for $90M. (Oh, would that we had $90M!)

Along those lines, I was really impressed when Jocketty got Adam Kennedy to sign for $10M over three years. The guy's a legit starting middle infielder, and he's getting paid just barely more than our backup. (Maybe just barely more than our other backup, Tony Graffanino, too.) This was the topic of my Hardball Times article this week, Is Adam Kennedy the Steal of the Offseason?

By paying only $0.62 million per WSAB [Win Share Above Bench], Jocketty will improve his team by a couple of wins at well below the going rate. Not only that, but by locking in that deal over three years, he'll save a total of $6 million over the next three years. On a less abstract level, he's improving one of the sore spots of last year's championship team: as a group, Cardinals second basemen managed only a .265/.329/.382 line; that OBP exceeded only the averages of their catchers and pitchers, and the SLG only bettered catchers, pitchers, and David Eckstein.
Of course, you should read the whole thing. Then hope that Doug Melvin pulls off a really good trade or two this week.