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Mikolas returns from Japan, agrees to deal with Cards

06 Diciembre 2017

Louis Cardinals have signed right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas to a two-year, $15.5 million contract, FanRag Sports has confirmed.

After posting a 5.32 ERA over three unsuccessful years in the majors, Mikolas went to Japan and thrived as a starting pitcher. Last season with the Yomiuri Giants, the 29-year-old went 14-8 over 27 starts, registering a 2.25 ERA while allowing 162 hits and striking out 187 opposing batters over 188 innings of work.

Mikolas has a combined 4-6 record over 37 career MLB games (10 starts) to go with a 5.32 ERA.

The Rangers were among other suitors for Mikolas, who wanted to incorporate him in a six-man rotation with Shohei Ohtani, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reports.

The Cardinals had scouts Jeff Ishii and Rick Meinhold as well as director of player personnel Matt Slater evaluate Mikolas in person, and what they saw was desired durability, a hold on his mid-90s-mph velocity late into games, and strikes.

Mikolas won Central League MVP of the Month awards in June of 2015 and August of 2017, becoming the first foreign-born pitcher in Yomiuri Giants franchise history to win the MVP of the Month award multiple times. In addition to landing in pitching-friendly Busch Stadium, he also joins a team with a strong reputation for developing quality pitching; since the beginning of the 2010 season, the Cardinals rank third in team ERA (3.62), eighth in WHIP (1.28) and seventh in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.6:1).

Expect Mikolas' strikeout rate to dip back in the States, though as a member of the National League he'll benefit in that department from facing pitchers rather than designated hitters.

The Rangers released Mikolas after the 2014 season. A number of the club's young starters could be limited in workload this season. If the Rays wish to move him without the bind the Marlins are in with Stanton's no-trade clause, now is the time.

The Cardinals added to their depth with Mikolas.

Assuming Mikolas does make the starting five - the odds are greater that he will than won't - he could provide back-of-a-mixed-staff value for a dirt-cheap price.

Mikolas returns from Japan, agrees to deal with Cards