St. Louis Cardinals: Reconsidering the Signing of Miles Mikolas

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 14: Miles Mikolas
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 14: Miles Mikolas /

The signing of Miles Mikolas by the St. Louis Cardinals is beginning to look better.  It’s still early, but it may be that John Mozeliak and the Cardinal front office knew what they were doing when they signed “The Lizard King.”

When the St. Louis Cardinals signed Miles Mikolas to a two-year, $15.5 million dollar contract, the criticism was quick and loud from fans. In stops at San Diego and Texas, he posted a 5.37 ERA in 37 appearances over three years. This propelled Mikolas to Japan where he has been for the last three years.  Although he posted a 2.18 ERA in over 424 innings in those three years, many Cardinal fans weren’t buying into the signing.

Nevertheless, Mikolas has shown steady improvement since spring training and his first inauspicious start of the season.

On Saturday, St. Louis Cardinals right-handed pitcher, in his third start of 2018, pitched seven strong innings against the Cincinnati Reds in a 6-1 win.  Mikolas gave four hits, two walks, and one earned run to improve his record to 2-0, in an 83 pitch effort.

The “Lizard King” has dropped his ERA from 6.35 after his first start vs the Milwaukee Brewers on April 2, to 4.26 after Saturday.  Only an error by Dexter Fowler and questionable balk call against Mikolas during the Brewers game on April 9, keeps his ERA from being lower.  Also, Mikolas’ 19 innings pitched leads the staff and has the fewest walks allowed, after Saturday’s game and before Sunday’s game.

The St. Louis Cardinals signing of Mikolas gave the club for four advantages going into the 2018 season:

More from Redbird Rants

(1) To add rotation depth.  Although not at the top of the Cardinals needs list at the start of the offseason, the front office felt like it was important to improve the rotation depth.

(2) The signing of Mikolas allows the Cardinals the flexibility the deal a starter in mid-season trade for another need(such as a “big bat”), if it arises..

(3) To allow some young starters more time to develop in the minors or pitching out of the bullpen.

(4) To have sufficient depth to cover innings, as many young starters could be limited in workload this season.

Additionally, the signing of Miles Mikolas was not subject to international bonus limitations.

While in Japan for three seasons, Mikolas worked on his location, velocity, and strikeout rate.  His three pitch arsenal includes a fastball that is now nearly two miles per hour higher than the MLB average, that compliments his slider and curveball.

Admittedly, it’s still early and only three starts.  However, Miles Mikolas’ stats are trending in the right direction.  As his innings per start has improved, the ERA is going down.

With the uncertainty of Adam Wainwright‘s future, the disappointing start of Michael Wacha‘s season, and concerns about Luke Weaver‘s workload as the season progresses, Mikolas will play an important role in 2018.

John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinal front office may have found another low-cost-low-risk player that will address the Cardinals needs as the 2018 season progresses.

Next: Early changes needed

What’s your opinion of the Miles Mikolas signing?  Let us know.  Thanks for reading.