Cardinals sign starting pitcher out of Japan

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Cardinals are nearing a multi-year agreement with free agent right-hander Miles Mikolas.

Not that pitcher, Shohei Ohtani, the dual-threat Japanese phenom who can strike guys out one day and turn around to hit some home runs as a position player the next-no, the Cardinals were never in the running for his services.

The 30-year-old was drafted in the Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 7th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft, and last pitched for the Texas Rangers in 2014. In 2017, Mikolas led the Central League in strikeouts (187) and innings (188) while finishing with a 2.25 ERA, second best in the league among starters.

The 6-5, 220-pound native of Jupiter, Fla. was a combined 4-6 with a 5.32 ERA in 37 games (10 starts) in the majors with San Diego (2012-13) and Texas (2014). Sports initially reported that a deal was close on Tuesday morning. They now have more flexibility to deal one of their starters, should that help the organization execute a trade that addresses an additional need.

Mikolas has not pitched in the major leagues since back in 2014, but he has spent the last three years pitching in Japan, where he has been absolutely dominant.

Also of concern for the Cardinals is ensuring they have sufficient depth to cover enough innings.

After all, it's often the unknowns who provide us the most bang for the buck. Mikolas, 29, is returning from Japan, agreeing to a $15.5 million, two-year contract with the Cardinals.

He arrived in Japan in 2015 and got off to a fantastic start, going 13-3 with a 1.92 ERA in his first year with the Giants.

From a team perspective, Mikolas' arrival is probably the worst news for Reyes since, in his first season back following Tommy John surgery in February, he might be most wisely used in a swingman/multi-inning-relief role in 2018 in order to keep his innings total in check. He made a strong start in his debut against the Marlins, going 8 innings of three-hit ball, while only giving up one walk and picking up five strikeouts. That drove up the price of signing him.

  • Monte Muniz