Ranking the 10 best contracts in recent St. Louis Cardinals history

Adam Wainwright # 50 and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals bump gloves prior to the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 10, 2019 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC/Getty Images)
Adam Wainwright # 50 and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals bump gloves prior to the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 10, 2019 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by St. Louis Cardinals, LLC/Getty Images) /
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Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 22, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

No. 4: Miles Mikolas (2018-2019)

Value: +$37.8 million

Although Mikolas made the list of worst contracts in recent Cardinal history with his extension for the 2020-2023 seasons, his initial contract when coming back to the U.S. from Japan is the best free agent signing in terms of value since 2013.

Signed to a two-year, $15.5 million year, Mikolas began his Cardinals tenure with an All-Star season that saw him finish sixth in Cy Young voting with a record of 18-4 and ERA of 2.83 across 200.2 innings, adding up to a market value of $34 million for 2018 alone. 2019 was not as kind to Mikolas, but even so, he posted a “dollars” value of $19.3 million, out playing his deal once again.

Across the length of the deal, Mikolas went 27-18 with an ERA of 3.46 while throwing 384.2 innings. One can make a strong case that some of his lower K/9 numbers and very high xFIP would have made the front office hesitate at awarding a second deal, but there is no denying how valuable Mikolas was on his $7.75 million annual salary.

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