Did the Cardinals make a mistake extending Miles Mikolas over Jordan Montgomery?

Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals
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The Cardinals may have made a mistake extending Miles Mikolas over Jordan Montgomery

Coming into the 2023 season, there was a lot of discussion surrounding what the Cardinals' rotation would look like in 2024 and beyond. Out of the Cardinals' projected rotation, only one guy, Steven Matz, was under contract after this season. It was expected that the Cardinals look to extend another starter, and they did so with Miles Mikolas.

Mikolas, coming off an impressive season with a 3.29 ERA in 33 games, was handed a two-year, $40 million extension from the Cardinals just days before the 2023 season began. It is important to note that there was a $5 million signing bonus and a $3 million raise to his 2023 salary, so his salary for the next two seasons will only be $16 million.

Now, Mikolas has gotten off to a terrible start to 2023, posting a 5.97 ERA in his first six starts. I think it's far too early to call the deal a bad one, as $16 million a year is a bargain price for what Mikolas put up last season. But, it's not too early to ask whether or not signing him over Jordan Montgomery was the right move.

Montgomery was open to an extension this offseason, but this representation and the Cardinals' front office were unable to come to terms on a deal. We are not sure what kind of numbers each side was looking at for a deal, so it's very possible that Montgomery's camp was open to an extension, but only if it blew them away so much that they'd be willing to forego free agency.

Let's look at what a possible Montgomery extension could have looked like and whether or not the Cardinals made a mistake extending Mikolas instead of him.