The St. Louis Cardinals made a bold move on Opening Day, announcing that pitcher Miles Mikolas had signed a two-year, $40 million extension. The deal comes as a bit of a surprise, as Mikolas had a shaky 2020 season and had not yet proven himself to be the ace of the Cardinals’ rotation.
However, the Cardinals clearly have faith in Mikolas, who was the team’s best pitcher in 2018 and 2019. During those two seasons, he posted a 3.46 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 32 starts each year. He was also selected to the All-Star team in 2018 and finished sixth in Cy Young voting that same year.
In 2020, Mikolas struggled with injuries and a drop in velocity. He only made four starts and gave up 10 runs in 16 innings before being shut down for the season. However, the Cardinals believe that Mikolas can return to form and be a key piece of their rotation.
The extension also shows the Cardinals’ commitment to keeping their core players. Mikolas joins Paul DeJong, Matt Carpenter, and Yadier Molina as Cardinals who have signed long-term deals in recent years.
The move also takes some pressure off the Cardinals’ front office, who would have had to make a decision on Mikolas’ $17 million option for 2022 after this season. By extending him now, they have more certainty in their rotation for the next two years.
Overall, the Mikolas extension is a gamble, but one that the Cardinals are clearly willing to take. If Mikolas can return to his 2018-2019 form, he will be a steal at $20 million per year. If he continues to struggle, the Cardinals may regret the deal. Only time will tell, but for now, the Cardinals are happy to have Mikolas back in the fold.