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The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a two-year contract extension with right-handed starter Miles Mikolas that will pay him $40 million, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. CBS Sports HQ has since confirmed the terms of the pact. Mikolas had been scheduled to hit free agency this winter.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that Miles Mikolas will remain a Cardinal for the foreseeable future,” said Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “Miles stands among the top pitchers in the game today, and has continued to provide a steady presence for us both in the rotation and inside the clubhouse. The team is also looking forward to Miles taking the ball for us on Opening Day next week at Busch Stadium.”
Mikolas, 34, was also named the Cardinals Opening Day starter on Friday. (The favorite, Adam Wainwright, was taken out of the running earlier this week after suffering a groin injury.) This will mark his fifth season with the Cardinals. In the first four, he appeared in 106 games (all but one a start) and compiled a 3.46 ERA (114 ERA+) and a 4.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His contributions have been worth an estimated 9.1 Wins Above Replacement.
Last season alone, Mikolas started 32 times and pitched his way to a 116 ERA+ and a 3.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He performed well enough to be named to his second career All-Star Game. Not bad for someone who didn’t establish himself as a big-league starter until his age-29 campaign.
Mikolas originally joined the Cardinals on a two-year deal worth $15.5 million in December 2017 after spending a few seasons raising his stock by pitching in Japan. His agreement then covered the 2018-19 seasons, but the Cardinals signed him to an extension in February 2019. That amended contract, worth $68 million over four years, bridged the gap to this one.
Mikolas figures to play a large role in the Cardinals’ pursuit of another National League Central title. He’ll front a rotation that, at least to begin the season, is expected to include Jordan Montgomery, Steven Matz, Jack Flaherty, and Jake Woodford.
Mikolas and the Cardinals will kick off their new season on Thursday, March 30, against the Toronto Blue Jays.