By Brenden Schaeffer, KMOV Sports
As the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes remain in a holding pattern, the Cardinals have signed a pitcher out of Japan.
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.
St. Louis has, however, signed right-hander Miles Mikolas, a 29-year-old starting pitcher who has spent the last three years in Nippon Professional Baseball. Originally from Jupiter, Florida, Mikolas was a 7th round pick of the Padres in 2009. His underwhelming numbers across parts of three MLB seasons from 2013 to 2015—a 4-6 record with a 5.32 ERA in 91.1 innings—led him to sign a professional contract overseas with the Yomiuri Giants.
In three seasons with the Giants, Mikolas went 31-13 with a 2.18 ERA in 424.2 innings. He led NPB with 188 innings pitched this past season (14-8, 2.25 ERA), which should bode well for a Cardinal pitching staff in search of innings considering the departure of Lance Lynn and the numerous young arms slated to see time in the rotation in 2018.
The deal was first reported by Jeff Passan, while Ken Rosenthal added that Mikolas’ deal with the Cardinals is for two years, valued at $14-$16 million. For the Cardinals to add a potential innings eater to the rotation allows them to continue floating pitchers like Michael Wacha, Jack Flaherty, Sandy Alcantara, and potentially others, in trade talks as they seek the addition of an impact bat this offseason.
Assuming Seung-Hwan Oh does not return to the Cardinals in free agency, Mikolas may claim the title of best nickname on the roster. ‘The Lizard King’ is a moniker that has followed Mikolas since 2011, when he ate a lizard on a bet during an Arizona Fall League game. If you like gross things, video of this does exist.
If Mikolas can provide a necessary bridge during the development of the Cardinals’ hoard of young pitching talent, ‘The Lizard King’ could be a nice little pickup for St. Louis.