The Cardinals are winners today after extending Miles Mikolas on a two-year deal
The St. Louis Cardinals made a significant move to bolster their club beyond 2023 today, resigning 2022 All-Star Miles Mikolas to a two-year, $40 million extension to remain with the club through the 2025 season.
Before we get too deep into this, it's important to note how the contract breaks down, as Jesse Rodgers of ESPN noted that Mikolas' AAV in 2024 and 2025 will actually only be $16 million.
Mikolas, 34, is coming off an excellent season for the Cardinals, where he eclipsed the 200-inning mark with a 3.29 ERA in those 33 games. The Cardinals faced question marks coming into 2023 with the future of their rotation, having just one player, Steven Matz, from their five-man group under contract after the 2023 season. Now the Cardinals have two of their five spots sorted out, which is a big win before the end of Spring Training.
Here are a few reasons I really like this deal for the Cardinals.
The deal itself is really team friendly
Sure, Mikolas has had a few down years since he's come to St. Louis, but outside of the 2019 season, any of those "off-years" have seemed to be related to injuries, which is just a part of investing in pitching. In two of the three years, Mikolas has pitched full seasons in St. Louis, he was an All-Star in both of them.
Getting an All-Star level pitcher locked up, even if he isn't an ace or even your preferred option as a number two starter, is a big win, especially when your rotation is a major question mark beyond this year.
The numbers on this deal are very favorable for St. Louis as well. As Rodgers noted, the Cardinals wisely used some of their extra budget this year to keep Mikolas' AAV down in future years, so they'll effectively have Mikolas at $16 million per year during this extension.
That is a huge bargain in the current marketplace of starting pitching. Sure, 10 years ago, this would have been a massive AAV, but today, that's below market value. Take Chris Bassitt and Jameson Taillon for examples. Bassitt is a pretty solid comp for Mikolas, as he his free agency at age 33, and received a three-year, $63 million deal from the Blue Jays. Taillon, who is far less accomplished than Mikolas, got a four-year, $68 million deal from the Cubs. All deals have to be taken into account with what the market is offering, and the Cardinals did really well here.
Beyond the initial numbers, there are some other reasons I like this deal as well.